Nothing But Balls
Sports From a Different Perspective…

The 32nd Men: Fans Go One for Two

In an effort to curb some of the blame from the managers, Major League Baseball instituted a fan vote to name the final players on both league’s rosters. This year’s vote was to name two pitchers worthy of all star status. It is nice to see this decision left up to the fans, because normally they do such a bang up job with the starters. Despite these complaints, the fans did excellent work in picking starters this year, and also in choosing the final roster spots.

Ten worthy players were selected to vie for the honor. In the American League, the choices were hurlers Jeremy Bonderman (DET), Kelvim Escobar (LAA), Roy Halladay (TOR),  Pat Neshak (MIN), and Hideki Okajima (BOS). Candidates in the National League included, Roy Oswalt (HOU), Carlos Zambrano (CHC), Brandon Webb (ARI), Tom Gorzelanny (PIT), and Chris Young (SD). Among these, Okajima and Young get the priviledge to represent their league in the mid summer classic in San Francisco.

Of these two choices, the voters got one out of two correct. Now, an argument could be made with great facility for all the standouts, but there were clear choices. In the Senior Circuit, the fans got it right in choosing Chris Young. The Padres’ pitcher has the best ERA in baseball for starters at 2.00. This along with his eight wins and imposing strikeout numbers makes him head and shoulders above the pack. Now, I say this even though one of my favorite players was on the ballot. Being a die hard buccos fan, Gorzo is my favorite Pirate and well deserving with his eighth best ERA and nine wins. Despite this, the only choice is Young.

It is a different story in the A.L. Okajima, while being an excellent reliever is not the best choice compared to the others. The problem for Okajima is just that, he is a relief pitcher.  A 0.88 ERA in 48 innings is not nearly as impressive or valuable as a starter who is 10-3 with a 3.19 ERA.  A fantastic year for reliever is just not the same as someone who takes the ball every five games. Of the starters, the one with the best numbers is the Angels’ Kelvim Escobar, a former closer turned starter. Allowing only 1.16 baserunners per inning along with his stellar ERA and 10 wins makes him the rightful choice. No offense to Okajima, but I have a feeling that the huge Red Sox fan base along with his Japenese heritage put him over the top. The old baseball saying is, “momentum is only as good, as your next day’s starting pitcher,” and Escobar is the best of the bunch.

I sense a counterpoint from Al (A.K.A. Red Sox Homer)


5 Responses to “The 32nd Men: Fans Go One for Two”

  1. Okajima deserved an All Star spot. He has been arguably the best reliever in baseball this year. So what if Escobar was deserving, blame the people who voted in K-Rod and his 24 saves despite the fact that he has a 2.33 ERA and a WHIP over 1. (Compared to Okajima’s .83 ERA and .83 WHIP, not to mention the fact that he pitched 5 more innings than Rodrgiuez)

    I’m not saying Escobar wasn’t deserving, and I’m not saying #2 starters aren’t more important than set up men, but you can’t fault the fans for picking a very deserving candidate. Instead, blame those who put K-Rod on the roster instead of Okajima in the first place.

  2. That was not my argument, my argument was of the choices presented Escobar was most deserving. Also, when you use the term “fans” it is a falacy because the the only reason he got in is because he is a red sox player and he is japanese, both large dedicated fan bases.

  3. Having a better ERA, WHIP and BAA than all the other candidates while being on the team with a better record than all the other candidates helps too.

  4. That is bullshit and you know it. He’s a reliever. and he should have better numbers. He only pitches maybe an inning a night. Plus Sabermetrics proves that relievers are used at the wrong times during the game.

  5. no, sabermetrics proves that CLOSERS are often used at the wrong times during games. Okajima has been used really well by Tito thus far.

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