The Tenth Inning – Week 13 All-Star Edition

include(“../CBB/includes/base_url.php”); ?>

The Tenth Inning – Week 13 – All-Star Edition ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>


By Mike Ivcic

The voting in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game fascinates me. Since you all know I’m a Mets fan, you probably think I’m mostly talking with regards to the Pablo Sandoval – David Wright travesty (which it is), but I’m not. That’s only a part of it. From Josh Hamilton’s record-breaking vote-garnering to the insanely difficult position of the managers to select one player from every team to the “Final 5” fan voting, I’m beginning to find the entire process difficult to swallow, and that’s without even mentioning the most ludicrous part of the whole thing.

“This time, it counts.”


The idea of the All-Star Game having any impact whatsoever on anything meaningful for the regular or postseason is insane, but as long as Bud Selig is in charge, we’re all stuck with it. But as a result, allow me to explain one of the benefits of the entire process – the important part of the game isn’t who starts, it’s who finishes.

The last few All-Star games have been fairly close and well-played, with most of them being decided in the last couple of innings. By that point, the starters are not only out of the game, in past years they might have even been out of the ballpark. Thus, in reality, the players selected to start the game don’t really have much say on the result of the game at the end of the night. Ultimately, the final result is dictated by the reserves and closers of each team, so instead of looking at the starters, compare the reserves and relief pitchers for each team. The perceived “edge” that the AL has in starting talent will be somewhat negated by the strong bench and bullpen of the NL, with players like Wright, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz, Yadier Molina, and Joel Hanrahan much more likely to have a direct impact on the outcome than Josh Hamilton or Derek Jeter. It’s true that the AL bench is also stocked with talented players, but my point here simply is that any system in which players rated 10-32 are more important than players rated 1-9 is probably flawed… especially when anything having to do with “fans” and “voting” comes into play.

Finally, with regards to the “Final 5” vote – I like Bryce Harper. I really do. He’s a hard-nosed player that’s saying and doing all the right things – including when he told members of the Washington and national media, “I’d vote for Chipper Jones.” When you’re talking about the final player selected to the All-Star Game, it should go to the player who is most deserving, and not a single MLB player is more deserving of one final All-Star appearance than Larry Wayne Jones. A true dinosaur that has spent his entire career with one team, Jones deserves to make one last curtain call on the national stage the way so many others have been allowed to exit the game. He has been an excellent player (remember, I’m a Mets fan saying this after he named his own kid Shea) and by all accounts an even better person. So yes, fans, vote for Chipper, even if it means one of the brightest young stars in the game suffers for a year as a result. It’s simply the right thing to do.

I feel like even Bud Selig could agree with that.

Playoff “Dead” List
July 2 – Colorado Rockies
June 25 – Seattle Mariners
Because I didn’t have a column last week, I’ll retroactively sound the death knell for the Mariners and then finish off the Rockies this week. Both teams have some talent, to be sure – Felix Hernandez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki, to name a few – and ultimately that will make them competitive, hopefully in the near future for both franchise’s sake. But this season is not going to be the year that either of these two teams reaches the postseason. Thus, they are both now officially “dead,” according to The Tenth Inning.
June 18 – Houston Astros
June 11 – Minnesota Twins
June 4 – Chicago Cubs
May 28 – San Diego Padres

Three series to watch this week…
1) CIN @ LAD (7/2-7/4) – The Reds have traditionally struggled in LA, and just last season snapped a streak of 18 straight losses in the City of Angels. They miss Kershaw and get a team that barely scored a run all last week until Sunday, so it’s time to take advantage of the slumping Dodgers (and then the Padres) to get some breathing room before the break.
2) LAA @ CLE (7/2-7/4) – Tough close to the pre-break schedule for Cleveland, getting the Angels and Rays as they try to stay close to the White Sox. Another way for the Indians to make the postseason is the wild card, which is currently held by… of course, the Angels.
3) SFG @ WAS (7/3-7/5) – They’re only the two best teams in the entire NL, so of course their series is on here. Washington would love to make a statement by beating the suddenly red-hot Giants, but runs should be at a premium with these two starting staffs.

If the season ended today, the playoff teams would be…
National League
1. Washington Nationals
2. San Francisco Giants
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Pittsburgh Pirates

American League
1. Texas Rangers
2. New York Yankees
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Baltimore Orioles

Check out my weekly column, “The Tenth Inning,” every Monday and the weekly “Power Rankings” every Friday, only at

Send comments on this article to

include($base_url . “/includes/footer.htm”); ?> ]]>