I voted for the All-Star Game today. My philosophy with doing this, whether on the Internet with my mouse or at the ballpark with a ballpoint (tee hee), is to pick players as fast as I can then to check the stats later and see how badly I messed up. For my first try this year, I did pretty well, perhaps because I'm keeping an even closer eye on baseball than usual thanks to this web venture.
1B I voted for Justin Morneau of the Twins, which is a no-brainer. Since coming off the DL late in April he's clubbed six homers, two triples, and four doubles. He's also getting on base at a .448 clip. If you want a guy who's played full-time, try Kansas City's Mike Sweeney or Seattle's Richie Sexson.
2B Brian Roberts, of Baltimore, should win this unanimously. Seriously, if you're at the park and you hear someone talking about voting for Soriano or Bret Boone, cuff them upside the head.
SS Miguel Tejada of the Orioles, with no one else even coming close. Carlos Guillen of Detroit is having a good year, but he has 2 homers to Tejada's 9, and he's not the soul of a team that's in first place in the tough AL East. If you vote for Derek Jeter, you're a bad person. Write-in votes for A-Rod are acceptable however.
3B Speak of the devil, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees is the pick here. Granted, he has no personality and his team is going down in flames around him, but Alex has the numbers. And the deodorant commercials. Honorable mention to Melvin Mora -- boy, that Oriole infield is pretty good.
C My choice and the numbers' is Joe Mauer of Minnesota. The Twins farm system is all right, huh? Jason Varitek of the Red Sox is proving his new contract wasn't a waste of money, and Toby Hall is as good a candidate as any to be the Devil Rays' lone All-Star representative.
OF A lot of names to choose from. The ballot doesn't make you do so, but I like to pick a right fielder, a center fielder, and a left fielder if it doesn't cause a huge slight. I think teammates Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon of Boston and Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels make a pretty solid trio. Jacque Jones of the Twins would be my first guy off the bench.
P Fans don't get to vote for pitchers, but Jon Garland of the White Sox is the early favorite to start.
1B I first clicked Lyle Overbay of the Brewers, then just as I was picking my third outfielder, had a "d'oh!" moment and went back to pick Derrek Lee of the Cubs, who is putting up MVP-like numbers thus far (like a 1.224 OPS). Another easy choice, which is probably why I so nearly botched it. Amazingly, the great Albert Pujols is the third choice in this loaded category. Carlos Delgado of Florida and Washington's Nick Johnson have arguments as well.
2B I hate his **** star-moustached guts with the white-hot intensity of a thousand flaming suns, but it's impossible to deny that Los Angeles's Jeff Kent should be the starter in Detroit in July, barring any tragic truck-washing accidents. No one else in the NL is in his class.
SS Colorado fans, rejoice! Clint Barmes is on the ballot, and if he keeps up his ridiculous hitting pace, he stands a chance to break into the heady climes of the All-Star starting lineup. His only competition is Omar Vizquel, who gives up 200 points of OPS but has two main things going for him: he's been an All-Star three times before, and he doesn't play for the Rockies. Stuff the ballot boxes! Get Clint to Motown!
3B Chipper Jones of the in-town Braves laps the field here. Troy Glaus, whose signing by Arizona was criticized in many quarters, is second best.
C This was the one I really messed up. I was going to vote for Paul Lo Duca but wanted to mix it up, and I have read good things about the hitting and defense of the Nationals' Brian Schneider, so I gave him the nod. I shold have stuck with the Marlin. No matter how good Schneider's defense may be, he gives up 40 points of OBP to PLD. Yeah, you know me. San Diego's Ramon Hernandez is in the running as well.
OF I just kind of guessed here, coming up with Miguel Cabrera of Florida, Carlos Beltran of the Mets, and Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals. That's two centerfielders, but none of the rightfielders popped out to me. Edmonds and Cabrera are solid picks, and you could hardly go wrong with Beltran, who may have guaranteed himself a huge fan vote with his performance in the playoffs last year. However I can't believe I overlooked his teammate Cliff Floyd, who is just playing out of his mind -- 1.057 OPS, 8 homers, 20-game hitting streak. Adam Dunn would be my fourth outfielder.
P 6-0 and a 1.07 ERA good enough for you? Then call Dontrelle Willis.
Well, that was a fun little exercise. I'll vote again in a few weeks and see what changes, if anything. Meanwhile, do your best to get out the Barmes vote. A Rockies player starting in the All-Star Game could well be the highlight of this rapidly dimming season.