Sunday, July 07, 2013

Should Puig be an All-Star?

Major League Baseball just doesn’t get it. They never have. This is why Les Moonves needs to be the commissioner.   MLB spends so much time arguing minutia that they miss the big picture. The latest raging controversy-over-nothing is this: Should Yasiel Puig play in the All-Star Game later this month?

Yes, I know. Most of you are saying who’s Yasiel Puig? And how do you even pronounce his name? (It’s “Pweeg”) You will be among the majority of people not watching the All-Star Game, despite it’s claim that “that this time it means something.”

So who is Yasiel Puig? He’s a young Cuban defector who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in early June and turned in one the greatest single months any player has done over the last 140 years. That’s all. Record-breaking number of hits, monster home runs, spectacular catches, unbelievable throws, lightening speed. He has almost single-handedly turned the Dodgers’ fortunes around. The only thing he hasn’t done is sung the national anthem.

But many managers, and coaches, and executives don’t feel he should be in the All-Star Game because he’s only been on the scene for a month of the three-month season. His inclusion would tarnish the “integrity” of what it means to be an All-Star.

Here’s the point they’re all missing:

THIS IS JUST A FRIGGIN’ TELEVISION SHOW.

Nothing more.  It's a spectacle.  The Ice Capades with cleats.  Who does the audience want to see?  That's the ONLY question.  Period. End of discussion. Statistics are meaningless. Time-of-service is meaningless.

The game is meaningless!

Hollywood understands this. When actors break out in movies or series they become All-Stars overnight. You think ABC told the producers of HAPPY DAYS to not use the Fonz so much because he’s taking too much screen time away from star Ronny Howard? You think Top 40 radio stations refused to play Justin Bieber because he was only 16 and hadn’t paid his dues? Or Neil Patrick Harris was forbidden from hosting the Tony Awards because he wasn’t on Broadway last season?

GET REAL.

My partner and I wrote a pilot for Fox once and we got the following note: "Add a hot babe. Make her a series regular." I asked: “To do what?” And they said, “We don’t care.” You gotta applaud their honesty. They knew why people watched Fox.  Had we said, "But a hot babe will just destroy the integrity of our concept" they'd have laughed at us. 

For many baseball fans, Yasiel Puig is the ONLY reason they’d want to watch the All-Star Game. You think they’re tuning in to hear Tim McCarver prattle on incessantly about nothing? Or to see the big rivalry between the American and National League? Now that there’s so much interleague play the leagues have been blurred to the point where there no longer is any real novelty of seeing the AL and NL compete.

In a desperate attempt to fool the fans into thinking the game actually means something (after it ended one year in a tie when they embarrassingly ran out of players), the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series. No one gives a shit. Not even the players. Do you think the buried-in-last-place Houston Astros care if the American League gets home field advantage? Half of the team doesn’t even know they’re now in the American League.

Fans get to vote for the players, but they get to stuff the ballot boxes. Karl Rove would like to replace the Electoral College with this system. You can vote up to 35 times on line or as many actual ballots as you want. As a result, guys with .200 averages have made All-Star squads. But again, so what? The fans vote for the players they want to see. Maybe one out of 100,000 checks the Sabermetrics before making his selections.

One year Steve Garvey of the Dodgers took home reams of ballots and he and his (then) wife filled in enough write-in votes to actually get him selected. And then he wound up winning the MVP award of that year’s All-Star Game.


So who are we kidding with the integrity of the Mid-Summer Classic?

It’s a fun television show. For hardcore baseball fans like me I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But I don’t give a rat’s ass who wins. I want a 9-8 game. I want the home run derby to be part of the game itself. I want a manager to be ejected for arguing. I want to see incompetent umpire Angel Hernandez call a ball foul that sails over the centerfield wall.

Yasiel Puig will be selected to the All-Star squad. How come? Because the fans get to vote one final reserve and he’s on the ballot. He’s up against Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez and Hunter Pence. Who do you think Fox would prefer – Yasiel Puig or Ian Desmond?

Now, in the American League, these are the five household names vying for the last spot: Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Koji Uehara, Tanner Scheppers, and Joaquin Benoit. Do you know who any of these potential All-Stars are? (I do and vote for Steve Delebar.)

Oh, and by the way, this is not the first time Major League Baseball has wrestled with this dilemma over whether a rookie who broke in mid-season should qualify for the All-Star squad. It happened JUST LAST YEAR. And Bryce Harper did make the team. So what are we arguing about?

JUST ADD THE HOT BABE.

30 comments:

XJill said...

Puiiig!!!

Dodgerdog said...

M-V- Puig!!!

Jeffro said...

What gets me scratching my head is that with the online voting it will remember all your selections if you want to vote multiple times. But each time you submit the saved choices, you have to type in a #@$!-ing code! At least it was that way last year. I haven't bothered to vote at all this year because it really is just a popularity contest and it's not worth the effort.

But anyway, for those voting more than once, how often are they going to alter their choices from submission to submission? Why not just have a box to specify how many votes one wants to submit and then do the code thing. Or better yet, how about just one vote per identity. If it's really important to vote more than once, then it your own damn business if you want to waste your time in going out and creating X false identities with X email addresses.

Maybe it would be better just to only let the players vote. At least for the starters and alternates, and let the fans and the media vote for the rest, with a limited selection, like this last chance voting round.

goodman.dl said...

As a Nats fan, I can't argue.

It'd be nice if Desmond got in, and he might be an injury replacement anyway, but if you want sexy on the field... Yasiel Puig's game is way sexy.

He should be there. No question.

Liggie said...

You shoulda heard Marty brennerman get all riled up about Puig and how he should not be included over more veteran players on the Reds' broadcast yesterday. Wow.

kingvermin said...

...and then what about pitchers? Fans don't pick the pitchers. Managers looking to see what other teams' pitchers have and then ask GMs to acquire them before the deadline pick the pitchers.

Doug said...

Angel isn't incompetent, he's just a huge jackass.

Michael said...

Liggie, Marty is a wonderful broadcaster, but let's just say that he lets the color Red color his judgment.

The Vin has made two statements worth considering. One, that Puig is a five-tool player but he doesn't recall another such player who so easily displayed all the tools so quickly.

The other: the Twitter poll the other night was whether the All-Star Game should be played for home field advantage in the World Series. Fans said no. He did what can only be called, for him, a rant about how the fans are right and it's ridiculous that baseball's "crown jewel" is affected by "an exhibition game."

Markus said...

Is my transantlantic perception correct that it's mostly players (and former players) who express their opinion against Puig being included? Other experts seem to be much more divided over the question, while fans (you know, those people who actually matter in sports) seem to be all for it.

Brent said...

Fans will vote for who they want to see. That has nothing to do with the player deserving to be there or not. Come on, Derek Jeter hasn't played in a single game this year and got fan votes.

How many times in years past has some veteran with awful-to-mediocre statistics that year been voted in due to his past performances, at the expense of some young player who is having great year but hasn't "paid his dues." What a load of rubbish.

Don't even get me started about the Gold Glove. Voters have admitted not voting for a guy because his batting average was too low. Hello! It's about fielding, not batting!

Charles Warn said...

color me yeah on Yaseel...give the people what they want
AND yeah on Benoit...give Leyland what he needs

Anonymous said...

I don't like "exhibitions or all stars games. And I especially don't like the American League, period. Until they start playing real basball, and drop the DH, I won't watch any of their games. It's a shame the NL has to play them in the World Series.

Mitch Wright said...

While I don't think he's an All-star, yet, I do see the attraction. I can't stand the Dodgers, but I love the new blood and the interest he generates. On the other side, my feeling is not to deny him a spot, per se, but to respect the other players who played in 80 games and have the numbers to be considered an All-star. Desmond is an outstanding player, an All-star last year and just as deserving this year. Gonzalez should be on the team - period. Freeman & Pence? Yeah, they're more deserving than a guy who played 30 games. Respect for the players, that's what matters.

Now, if there really is a hot babe, by all means, put her on the team!

Randy 92109 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Owen Green said...

Yes. I mean, why not?!

Anonymous said...

For another take on why Puig deserves a spot, see:http://theinfield.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/why-yasiel-puig-deserves-a-spot-on-the-nl-all-star-roster/

Breadbaker said...

I'm sure that Anonymous must be old enough to know that the really wimpy league was the NL; in the old days the AL rule was that you had to pull a pitcher after he the manager or pitching coach came to the mound once, not once an inning. So I'm sure Anonymous hasn't seen any baseball at all since the AL adopted that rule from the NL.

And don't get me started about padded gloves.

DwWashburn said...

I've never cared for the All Star game mainly because of the pre game arguing. The game is called ALL Star, not 5 week star. Adding Puig just continues the "tradition" of giving players an invitation to the game because they have had a hot run since May.

Also, the All Star game is worthless (thank you Selig) because 1) inter league play has watered down its uniqueness, 2) the moving of a team to the AL so that every day now contains inter league play further waters it down 3) the game determines home field advantage for the World Series (why not give that honor to spring training stats -- same idea), 4)most of the players don't want to be there so why should we care about the game, and 5) every team gets a rep player which should be a slap in the face of Yadiar Molina to have to share the field with a Florida Marlins player (yes Florida Marlins -- they got their stadium, now the entire state needs to share the embarrassment).

Jake Mabe said...

The Angel Hernandez line made me laugh out loud...

The Mutt said...

It's The All Star Game, not The All Stat Game. If the fans want to see him, bring him on!

The baseball All Star game is the only one I enjoy. It's the only one where the players don't have to hold back. Football, basketball, hockey... they could hurt each other and wreck a season or a career. In baseball, you can go all out. (Not you, Pete Rose. That was a dick move.)

It's supposed to be fun! This home field advantage thing is as big a travesty as inter-league play.

Because the American League sucks. Sucks hard. Harder than your mother,

Tom said...

Ken: You left us hanging with the question: Did you add the hot babe to the script?

Jim 7 said...

Keep him off the All Star team if you want, but invite him to the Home Run Derby. It'll be the real show.

Tom Quigley said...

If write-ins are permissible, allow me to write in the name of Willie Mays... Ain't nobody come along like the "Say Hey Kid" in 50 years...

RE: Steve and Cindy Garvey -- No wonder the poor woman ended up having an emotional breakdown...

CINDY: Steve dear, what would you like us to do for our anniversary tonight? A gourmet dinner?... A bottle of vintage champagne?... A romantic midnight dip in the pool? Just say the word, darling.

STEVE: Here, fill out more of these...

chuckcd said...

The fans should see who they want to see. But it will be funny when Puig is hitting .250 at the end of the year. THAT was an all-star?

Your right about Angel Hernandez. The worst.

Just have Heidi Watney host the telecast. Best. Ratings. Ever.

Mike McCann said...

Ken,

Chuckcd just about stole my idea.
Get the HOT BABE to replace McCarver.

willieb said...

Ken,
Apparently the Atlanta Braves feel differently:

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/some-braves-critical-of-all-star-selection-process/nYfzh/

VP81955 said...

I have no qualms with Puig appearing in the All-Star Game; he's essentially this year's Harper (although as far as I know, he's never uttered "That's a clown question, bro" in Spanish.

I'm a Nats fan and would love to see Desmond make the team (especially since he was chosen in 2012 but couldn't play due to injury). I hate saying this because it runs against my nature, but I'm hoping Troy Tulowitski's rehab isn't entirely successful and he has to sit out the ASG, thus allowing Desmond to replace him should Puig, as expected, win the vote. (Harper didn't win it last year, but you can partially blame that on my one-dimensionally stupid fellow Washington fans; if Robert Griffin III isn't involved, they frankly don't care.)

Lumpy said...

The obvious choices to add are Puig and Kate Upton.

DJ said...

AL winner will be David Robertson, because people will think they are voting for Dave Roberts. He gets my vote just for having a name that's close.

mike said...

So if the Series goes four, each team gets two in their park. No advantage there. If it goes six, ditto. If it goes five, then the team that is supposed to be at a disadvantage gets one more game at their field. Only if it goes seven is the advantaged team ahead. Is it just that the 'winning' league starts the Series at home? Heck, if you need that to get up for the game, you're in the wrong business. What a joke. Ken is right, the folks who run mlb couldn't be more clueless. Or greedy. And anonymous 10:51 (hey, would it kill ya to leave a name?) is right--get rid of the damned dh. Why eliminate such a huge chunk of strategy for a measly half run a game?