It’s official! Andre Ethier was elected as a starting outfielder for the 2010 National League All-Star Squad, and Jonathan Broxton was named to the pitching staff by skipper Charlie Manuel.
Dylan Hernandez, the erstwhile beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, caught up with Ethier:
“It’s something I never imagined would happen,” Ethier said. “You fight to try to get here to the major leagues. You get here and to be singled out by the fans as one of the top outfielders is certainly something special.”
The road to the All-Star nod hasn’t been easy for Ethier. Although he’s batting .320 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI, he’s struggled significantly since coming off the DL with a pinkie injury suffered during batting practice. Still, the honor was certainly deserved, and it’s nice to see baseball fans across the country honor the Dodgers’ young hitter.
Jonathan Broxton also arrives at the All-Star game after a recent tough go of things. Although the two-time All-Star has a 3-0 record with 17 saves and a 2.02 ERA (to go along with 52 strikeouts with just seven walks), he did face some tough innings against the Yankees and the Diamondbacks over the past 1o days. That said, Broxton is the key to the Dodgers’ bullpen and any struggles are simply a blip on his stellar season.
And while a case could be made for either Rafael Furcal or Hong-Chih Kuo making the team, the worst All-Star snub in my opinion goes to Joey Votto, the first baseman of the Cincinnati Reds. He’s only hitting .312 with 19 HR and 57 RBI. The problem is that Votto’s competition, Ryan Howard, plays for the same Phillies manager that picks the reserves, and he went with his guy. I get it, that’s the way the game is played. Managers often pick “their guys” and bigger names traditionally win out over regular players like Joey Votto. That’s who the fans want, right?
My problem is when this happens to a guy who is leading his team this year and is actually a legitimate MVP candidate for the first half of the season. Those guys deserve to be named All-Stars, and it’s a crime when they don’t get the chance. I’m no fan of the Cincinnati Reds, but this is just wrong.
Here’s a little more on the Joey Votto situation from SI.com’s Joe Posnanski:
We’ll have more about the Reds’ Joey Votto in a minute… but the truth basically seems to be that he was left off the list for Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard. Now, THIS YEAR that’s ludicrous. Votto hasn’t just been better than Ryan Howard in every single way possible — but he’s been A LOT better in every single way possible. His on-base percentage is 61 points better, his slugging percentage is 68 points better, his OPS+ is 35 points better, his defense at first base has been about three or four grades better, even his TEAM has been better, which isn’t necessarily relevant to the conversation but certainly can’t hurt the guy.
So, comparing half-season to half-season, this is no contest, Votto is a slam-dunk, no-doubt choice over Howard. But is that really what the All-Star Game is about? You might think so. I might think so. But someone else might think, no, the All-Star Game is about having the biggest stars perform in front of the fans. And over the last five years, Ryan Howard has been a much bigger star than Joey Votto — he has won an MVP and finished second in another year, he has hit more home runs than any player in baseball, he has led the league in RBIs three times, and he has been a central figure in the Phillies’ renaissance. Fan voting is obviously a flawed way of looking at things, but it is true that 500,000 more people voted for Howard than Votto.
Fortunately, fans still have a chance to right this wrong (along with a few others) by taking advantage of the All-Star Final Vote. Until 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, fans can vote on the final addition to each team’s roster. Hopefully Votto will get what he deserves and will join Ethier and Broxton on the field in Anaheim for the 2010 National League All-Star team.
Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010