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Voters for All-Stars snubbed deserving players

Casper's CornerJeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

While I grasp the notion that the selection of baseball’s All-Stars should be as much about whom the fans want to see as it is about who’s deserving, I’m not sure how I feel about tonight’s Midsummer Classic and its 1994 feel. Barry Bonds? Ken Griffey Jr.? Ivan Rodriguez? All-Star starters?I feel like I’m 15 years old all over again. Minus the puberty. I’ve been watching these guys long enough. By now, I expected these guys to be filling out old-timers game rosters. Isn’t this why we invented ESPN Classic? Call me crazy – and many have – but I want to see the game’s best come All-Star time. I’d much rather see the Ryan Howards and Curtis Grandersons, deserving young players with plenty of skills to showcase but conspicuously absent from the All-Star rosters. But that’s the beauty of star power. And, apparently, old timers are what the majority of fans who took the time to cast a vote – or 20 – want to see.And before the Griffey backers jump all over me, allow me to concede his All-Star worthiness. The man is having a fantastic year. I’m not entirely sold on his status as a starter, but I can live with it.But tell me you can’t find a National League outfielder better than Bonds (Hunter Pence comes to mind) or a better American League catcher than Ivan Rodriguez (cough, Joe Mauer, cough; even Kohji Johjima). And where are all these closet Barry Bonds fans? Is he baseball’s biggest guilty pleasure or what? The man is booed everywhere he goes but somehow was the benefactor of a last-minute surge of votes that pushed him into the All-Star Game’s starting lineup. You’ll sooner find me confessing a clandestine love for the music of Hanson than voting for Bonds to be an All-Star starter. Maybe his numbers aren’t bad – .295 average, 17 homers – but he’s not an All-Star starter. I have no qualms with him being a reserve, especially in his home city.So forgive me if I cringe a little while watching the 42-year-old Bonds limp out to left field tonight. I don’t doubt the fans in San Francisco will eat up his presence, but I’d much rather see baseball display some of its young, overlooked talent.Pence, for instance, is killing the ball in his rookie season – much like he did at all levels of the minor leagues. So much so that the Astros outfielder is leading the National League in hitting. Rookie or no, that’s All-Star worthy. That’s a huge snub in my opinion.But, what can you do? Name recognition wins elections, and All-Star selections. It’s the American way.The fans didn’t completely miss the mark, at least. They did, after all, vote in Prince Fielder, Chase Utley and Russell Martin.And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Who are those guys?” please refrain from ever casting another All-Star ballot.Contact Jeff Caspersen at 384-9123 or jcaspersen@postindependent.com.


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