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Kansas City Blues

Sox Fan Proud!
by Mary Swistara

All Star Farce -- Again!

by Mary Swistara

Well, baseball fans; it’s that time of the year once again. Time to pay tribute to the best in the game. Time to honor those players most worthy of being honored. And once again, “This Time It Counts.”

Give me a break. When was the last time you remember the All-Star Game representing the players most worthy? For years, it’s been a beauty contest, and anyone who really thinks the “best players” get selected should seek immediate psychiatric help.

Let’s take a look at some of this year’s starting players, shall we? In this column, I cannot and will not comment on the less-than-major league—aka National League—because I’m not qualified to. I really don’t pay much attention to them. I will, however—if they ever give me a reason.

But the AL is a different kettle of fish. And rotten fish at that. No doubt it’s just a coincidence that five of the eight starting position players who were voted in play for either Boston or New York. And that the guy starting at first—David Ortiz—is actually Boston’s regular DH, who has a nodding acquaintance with the first sack at best. But let’s look at the catcher. “Pudge” Rodriguez? Excuse me, but to my mind, there has only been one “Pudge” and his last name was Fisk. And again IMO—shared by many others more knowledgeable than I—Joe Mauer should be starting at catcher. Well, at least he’s going.

Then we come to Manny Ramirez, who I guess has reason to believe—psychic hotline, maybe?—that he will have a knee injury that will keep him out of the All-Star Game, which takes place NEXT TUESDAY. Oddly enough, this became public before the Red Sawx opened a series against the White Sox. The first two games are in the books, and Manny played in both of them. But I guess he had to—in order to sustain the knee injury that will keep him out of the All-Star Game. Whaddaya want to bet he plays in Game #3 as well? This is not just “Manny Being Manny” folks. This is “Manny Being a Prima Donna.” And Bud Light is, as usual, letting him get away with it. Heaven forbid MLB should offend an East Coast team! That might make ESPN mad. And that would never do.

Meanwhile, some fans—and managers—are calling “foul” over Ozzie’s decision to take so many Sox players to the ASG. One of the mosy vocal complaints is that Ozzie took Paul Konerko over Travis Hafner of the Indians. Fine. Let’s take a closer look at this. David Ortiz (primarily a DH) was voted in as a starter. Jim Thome (who much as I love him is also primarily a DH) was voted in by the players. Travis Hafner is also primarily a DH. So Ozzie took Konerko, who actually PLAYS first base. Hey, if “This Time It Counts,” Ozzie may be excused for taking players who may actually help the AL win, since it is likely the Sox will be there at the end. And where was the outcry when Joe Torre did the same thing?

And then there’s A.J. and the “Punch A.J.” campaign. Another source of outrage on fan boards everywhere. How could this “thug” get chosen to the All-Star Game? Well, guess what? A.J. won for the same reason Scotty Podsednik won last year—a loyal fan base that long has been overlooked rose up and made their presence known. Sox Fans have always been proud and have never been afraid to show it. We voted for our guy. The other guys’ fan bases fell short. Deal with it!

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