Tonight, Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright takes the mound for a NL squad helmed by our very own Mike Matheny looking to lock up home field advantage for the Senior Circuit come October. Since this game is simply a glorified expedition and in all actuality counts for nothing, I won’t give it the formal run-down of a game preview. However, this game does create many interesting storylines as well as setting the stage for some of baseball’s most heated arguments to take place on a national level. So here are my top three storylines to watch going into the 2014 All-Star Game.
By now, everyone knows that this is Derek Jeter‘s last year of professional baseball and as such, this is his last ASG. Whether you consider him to be baseball’s version of the Messiah or just simply another Yankee bum, his career is undeniably one of the best of all-time. Despite that, Jeter does not deserve to be in Minneapolis this week, legend or not. Jeter’s production this year has been nonexistent and his usually sure glove has shaky all leading to Jeter looking like a ghost of his former self in the field. All of which lead me to the question, should the fans truly be allowed to vote for the ASG? I say no. I realize that many people will clamor that many fans will lose interest in the game if they can’t vote for their favorite players, but until the Hall of Fame stops recognizing All-Star appearances as a valid credential, the fan vote is ill-advised. Many talented players who deserve the All-Star nomination more than washed-up legends or media darlings are left off the roster each year. But when their names come up for Hall consideration, both Aramis Ramirez and Derek Jeter will be able to tout undeserving All-Star seasons.
2. Pat Neshek
The Cardinals’ reliever has been beyond dominant this year posting a 0.70 ERA in nearly 40 innings pitched, but that’s not why he’s the most deserving All-Star. As many Cardinals’ fans know, Neshek was only signed to a one-year minor league deal with an invite to spring training this past winter. Neshek improbably made the team out of camp and his fairy tale run hasn’t ended since. But once again, Neshek’s improbable rise isn’t why he is the most deserving All-Star.
In 2012, Neshek’s infant son Gehrig John died the same day the Oakland A’s (then Neshek’s team) won the AL League pennet. What was supposed to be one of the happiest days of Neshek’s life was completely falling to pieces. A year and a half later, Neshek has moved on and made a name for himself, but never forgets how far he’s come. Since his son’s passing, Neshek’s wife has given birth to another boy, Hoyt, in March of this year. Said Neshek, “It’s just a joy to take our Hoyt through something like this. We’ve been taking pictures of him everywhere along the way, not that he’ll remember. We wanted to be doing it with Gehrig, so this is real special for us.”
Neshek is the most deserving All-Star this year, I’m just happy he plays for the Cards.
3. Is there truly a point to all of this?
The All-Star Game is fun. I love watching it every year. But I also hate everything it stands for. Bud Selig forcing this game to “count” for something is ludicrous and the constant subbing defeats the purpose of the game. At the top of this post, I said I wouldn’t preview this game and this is why. Both teams employ the best players in the game and there is no rhyme nor reason to how long or when any of these players play. There is no one specific advantage you can point to in either team nor is there any one game-changing player. There is no point to preview this game because there is no point to the game.
As an honor, I love the All-Star Game. I love As a baseball fan, I love seeing all the best superstars on the field at once. But as a rational human being, the All-Star Game is outdated. There is too much room for injury in what is just a glorified publicity stunt. I love the game and I love the derby, but baseball needs to do something about both. Either take the competitiveness out of the game or have a failsafe to compensate teams that might lose their star player.
The All-Star Game airs at 7:00 CST tonight on Fox. Cheer for your Cardinals and the NL to win home field advantage, but most of all, pray that Waino doesn’t get hurt.