I was outside of Twins Territory most of the gloriously long weekend, but I thoroughly enjoyed checking the internets every morning to see that my Little Team That Could is still chugging along. Putting a division rival into fire sale mode is a Good Thing. Trading C.C. to the National League is even better. He can rake. (Oh, and it lessons the chances of him shutting out Favorite Squad #1). Joe Mauer continues to stick his two middle fingers directly up my ass...and i'm loving it! (He's really gentle for such a big guy)
And I won't be the only one to enjoy the sexual stylings of St. Paul's finest, an entire nation of pre-teen girls and unusually single older gentlemen will be fawning over him as the starting Catcher for the American League All-Star Team. He's joined by Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan. Mauer and Morneau were no surprise...but it was a pleasant surprise that Joe Nathan and the Facial Tics made it. Not undeserving of a spot, Nathan was expected to be the victim of an overabundance of good relief pitchers on bad teams. Baltimore and Kansas City's only realistic representatives were closers (not to mention both had more saves than Joe), and Rivera and Papelbon were obviously going to be on the team...Rivera 'cuz he's quietly having another amazing year and Papelbon because they needed someone who was batshit crazy in case Carlos Zambrano starts a beanball war. Add K-Rod and his infinity amount of saves to the mix, and it isn't hard to leave Mr. Nathan on the golf course for three days.
But Terry Francona picked him, and, after the fact, it really isn't that hard to see why. The starting pitching in the AL kinda sucks. Not in a "we even considered Sidney Ponson" sort of way, but there weren't many dominating pitchers in the first half. Halladay is fun 'cuz he pitches the full nine every other start, and Lee has been extremely tough to score on...but no one (including these guys) is EXCITING. So six closers it is. Good for you, Joe Nathan.
Speaking of six closers and batshit crazy...how 'bout this idea:
Let Mariano Rivera start the game.
It's the final season at current Yankee Stadium, and, more than any other player (yes, more than Jeter), Rivera has defined the Yankee resurgance of the 90's and 00's.
Yes, it would be amazing if he came in for the 9th inning, the AL clinging to a one-run lead, Chase Utley, Albert Pujols, and Lance Berkman due up for the NL. But that's not going to happen. One, there's no guarantee the game will be close late...and B, by the time the 9th inning rolls around, he'll be facing Russell Martin, Christian Guzman, and Nate McLouth.
The All-Star game is ONLY interesting if there's drama. Why not create some? If you have Rivera pitch the first, you're guaranteeing he'll face the game's best hitters in its "best" ballpark. You'll have a much bigger audience, as no one gives up and goes to bed in the first inning...do they? And, you'll make sure he enters the game in a meaningful situation. Let him pitch the second, too. (If he and Girardi are okay with it)
By the time this 5 hour marathon limps past what will certainly be the longest seventh inning stretch in the history of the game, it's likely you'll have half the audience you started with and almost none of the buzz.
Do you think I could call Gardy and have him pass this on to Francona? Does anyone have his number?