What was meant to be a one-time event has turned into a celebration for the midway point of the long baseball season. The All-Star Break has become a way to thank the fans and put on a show, while still having something at stake.
The All-Star Game has developed into an important event since the debacle in 2002 when the teams ended in a tie and sent thousands of fans home unhappy.
For the past five years, the winning team has secured home field advantage for its league in the World Series. The American League has won all 5 years and 10 straight, not counting the aforementioned tie.
With this incentive being added to the game, some players have more to play for than others. Generally the players voted into the game are part of a winning ball club, but that’s not always the case. Starting AL 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez stands a good chance to play in the World Series and likely teammate Ichiro Suzuki is on the worst team in the league.
That being said, the teams that stand to benefit the most from an All-Star Game win are the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Twins, Angels, Phillies, Marlins, Cubs, Diamondbacks and Cardinals. Each team is leading or in contention for the division crown. It’s easy to pick out a couple of teams that are the favorites to represent their respective leagues in the World Series, therefore giving them an even greater interest in the game’s outcome. I am, of course, talking about the Twins and the Cubs.
The All American Homerun Derby will have a long list of sluggers on hand to represent www.letsgodeep.com.
The National League projected starters from our pool are Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Alfonso Soriano and Ken Griffey Jr. Kosuke Fukudome currently has a narrow lead over Ryan Braun for the 3rd outfield spot. They will both start if Soriano is unable to play. Hanley Ramirez also holds a slim advantage over Miguel Tejada for the starting shortstop role.
The American League projected starters are Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Josh Hamilton. Ian Kinsler is currently 2nd in voting behind Dustin Pedroia, but gaining fast. It also appears that Jim Thome will start at DH by default with David Ortiz and Hideki Matsui both injured.
The consigliere’s prediction is that the streak stops in New York. The American League suffers a big loss with David Ortiz out and the fans seem more content to vote in Yankees and Red Sox players than voting in the best players available. Unless there is a change in the voting over the final 2 days, the American League will need clutch hitting and a flawless game by their manager because the National League appears that they’re going to field an offensive juggernaut.