In 1881 the future National League wanted to upgrade its image and target a more upscale fan base by doubling ticket prices, banning gambling, and outlawing alcohol sales. Several team owners who happened to be brewers refused to accept the new rules and banded together to form what would eventually become the American League. The National League attempted to discredit the new league by dubbing it the Beer and Whiskey League. This, of course only made the new league more popular. Duh!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

A little cheese with that whine?

Ok, no more long-winded, incoherent posts. I'm switching to shorter (and more regular) posts starting ... right ... now.

I realize that every year people whine and gripe about the all-star roster and who should and shouldn't be on it. There's never going to be a roster that satisfies everyone. And every year, there is always one or two players who get voted on by the fans despite whatever miserable numbers that player have put up in the first half (a la Jason Giambi's whopping .241 average this season).

Ok, so I'm not going to whine and gripe about whether player X deserved to be on the roster and player Y didn't deserve to be on the roster (except to say that Johan Santana -- the official pitcher of Aaron Gleeman's blog -- was robbed). No, instead, I just want to point out what seems to me to be an incredibly odd little anomaly on this year's American League roster.

Eight of the fourteen teams have only one representative. Detroit, Boston, and Anaheim have two each. Boston would have had a third had Curt Schilling not pulled himself out for injury-related reasons. Likewise, Oakland would have had two if Hudson had not injured himself. The Yankees of course lead the pack with nine (Vazquez being chosen as the replacement for Mulder). Ok, thus far, no big surprise. Now, the Rangers have five. A small surprise but not really considering what a hot start that team has had this season. No, here's the crazy anomaly, the Cleveland Indians (42-45) also have five. Yes, you heard that right ... the flippin' tribe have five members on their all-star roster. How the hell does this happen?

As the folks over at Tribe Tracker have recently reported, the five tribesmen themselves were being asked that very same question.

The five Indians All-Stars arrived in Houston on Monday for the All-Star Game to a reception as frosty as when the Geek, a young John Cusack and the other guy crashed cool guy Jake Ryan's party in "Sixteen Candles."

Everywhere they went, the five players from Cleveland had to defend being there. Esteban Loaiza of the White Sox and Joe Nathan from the Twins both questioned the selection of five Indians. But they weren't alone.

** By the way, "the Geek" in Sixteen Candles was played by Anthony Michael Hall -- the ubergeek in the John Hughes' universe -- who you may recall (assuming you were one of the few people able to actually sit through Billy Crystal's incredibly painful homage to the Yankees, *61) played Whitey Ford.

The folks over at Indians Ink have a picture of the five all-stars (although you'll have to subscribe to actually read the accompanying article).

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the tribe and I'm certainly not suggesting that those players don't deserve to be there but what I don't get is how a team with five all-stars manages to put together such a mediocre season. Heck, Tampa Bay has a better record and only one all-star representative (oh, where art thou, Victor Zambrano?). They are sixth in team batting average, eighth in slugging, and twelfth in team ERA (that's out of fourteen teams!). In other words, I'm not going to question the propriety of those five tribesmen being on the roster only just asking why five all-stars can't seem to play together as a team very well. The last time a team with a losing record had so many all-star representatives was back in 1972 (The Royals also had five).

So, play ball!