It's time for another installment of "The Week in Overreactions" -- the idea that was
stolen borrowed with approval from our friends at Eye on Football. To the narrative machine!
Derek Jeter should/should not start the All-Star Game
In one corner ...
Derek Jeter is hitting .269 with no power (one homer and a .320 slugging percentage), no speed (one stolen base, one triple) and very little run production (14 runs and 10 RBI in 44 games) this season. He's well past his prime and this isn't a lifetime achievement game, since home-field advantage in the World Series is at stake. There are much more deserving candidates, such as Alexei Ramirez, to start at shortstop for the American League in the All-Star Game.
And in the other corner ...
Derek Jeter is a legend of the game, a certain Hall of Famer. The All-Star Game is the showcase of the stars and he's arguably the face of baseball going through the final season of his career. He deserves to be the starter so the rest of baseball can honor his career, much like it did with Mariano Rivera last season.
Remember, in Internet wars, you have to pick a side and say the other side is moronic in true point-and-laugh fashion. It's like those Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout MVP debates where I once asked why we couldn't just respect both players without trying to denigrate the one we didn't think should win. I'm taking the same mindset here.
I understand both sides.
On one hand, the All-Star Game does determine home-field advantage in the World Series (it shouldn't, but we can save that topic for later). So, ideally speaking, each team should have its best starting lineup.
On the other, the starters sometimes get only one or two plate appearances before being replaced. Can we really be sure Jeter is so bad that in one at-bat he won't get a hit? I don't see that as realistic. After all, in 2001, Cal Ripken was hitting .240/.270/.324 with four homers at the All-Star break and this happened:
That is still one of the best All-Star Game memories and it happened because an all-time great was voted in as a veritable lifetime achievement award. The game ended up being basically all about Ripken (well, and Vladimir Guerrero's bat knocking over Tommy Lasorda).
Was it so awful to send a Hall of Famer off that way?
On the flip side, Chipper Jones was having an excellent 2012 season but didn't start the All-Star Game. He ended up getting in the game and had this moment:
I fail to see how that was any less special just because Chipper didn't get the start.
As for the "this is all only because he's a Yankee" nonsense that seems to always arise, history is littered with examples otherwise, including the two moments you just saw above.
I do think that Jeter should be there -- just as all recognized all-time greats should in their final go-around -- but I don't think it matters if he starts or not. And I definitely don't think this is a situation where discussing it warrants any significant rise in intensity.
The bottom line is Derek Jeter is likely to get one plate appearance in this summer's All-Star Game. It'll likely have a very minimal impact on the game result and it doesn't matter when he gets that plate appearance.
PED connections factor in on fan vote?
I see absolutely no connection whatsoever. Sorry.
A certain segment of the baseball world -- which includes both media and fans -- can't help but talk about PEDs in baseball every single freaking day. It's a double-standard, it's exhausting and, frankly, it's a bit of an embarrassing obsession for some. But it's there. And in the All-Star voting results, we can see that there is no connection to be made.
Ryan Braun seems to be the most hated player in baseball by the PED obsessers, but he's third in the NL outfield voting. So, as things stand right now, the fans will have voted him in as a starter. Wow, everyone hates him so much, huh?
If we're talking about a merit vote that ignored the PED connections, Braun shouldn't be ahead of the three guys immediately behind him in the balloting results so far -- Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig and his teammate, Carlos Gomez.
How about Nelson Cruz? He's right on the heels of David Ortiz in AL DH voting -- and, really, Big Papi winning a popularity contest is always a pretty great bet. Not only that, one could argue Victor Martinez deserves a vote over Cruz and he's behind him by over 140,000 votes. Cruz's power work does merit strong consideration, of course, and he's getting it.
How about Melky Cabrera? He's fifth in AL outfield voting. One could argue he should be above both Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, but never underestimate the Yankee Nation voting bloc. Not only that, but there could be reasonable arguments for at least Shin-Soo Choo (eighth in voting) and Michael Brantley (not even in the top 15) over Cabrera and he's dwarfing them.
Biogenesis-tied Everth Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal and Jhonny Peralta aren't in the top five among their respective positions in voting, but I think it's rather obvious that the reasons are separate from the PED issue -- most likely simply performance-based.
There are some guys getting more support than they should in voting and some getting far less than they should (Brantley, as mentioned above, and also Edwin Encarnacion immediately come to mind among several others).
None of this has anything to do with PEDs. It's pretty obvious that if there's a group of fans where this makes a significant difference, they aren't in the majority.