By Jose M. Romero / @RomeroJoseM
For FOX Deportes
I’ve had the good fortune of covering two Major League Baseball All-Star Games.
I was there last summer when, to my good fortune, the game was held in the city where I live, Phoenix. My auxiliary press box seats were somewhat obstructed, nevertheless I can’t complain. I was there both Monday and Tuesday for home run derby and game.
As a journalist, I watch the games and follow the league news closely and go to as many Arizona Diamondbacks games as I can. As a fan, well, I go to one Dodgers game in L.A. per year, and I also cast a ballot for my All-Star team.
Fan voting is fine, but truth be told it’s a popularity contest and teams in bigger markets with more fans can stuff the ballot inbox with their team’s players. I like to think that voters are smart enough to pick the most deserving starting lineup, but it doesn’t work that way sometimes.
Thank goodness players and managers of the National League and American League can choose the reserves and pitchers. Someone’s bound to get left off the team that is very deserving – it happens every year – and there are injuries and replacements for those unavailable All-Stars.
For example, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers led in fan voting as of Tuesday, the final update on vote totals before the teams are announced on July 1, and Kemp isn’t even going to play in the July 10 game because of injury.
The easiest thing to do is base the All-Star selections on statistics through the first half of the season. But when fans are involved, favorite teams and players enter the equation, regardless of the player’s numbers. It’s just reality.
I won’t lie. I’m supportive of Latino players and I always look at them first to see whom I’d vote for. I also am a Dodgers fan, so I strongly consider them, too.
Just being honest.
So here’s what I’m going to do: I will share the player who I voted for on my AL and NL ballots, then beneath that will write which player actually deserves to be in Kansas City for Gates BBQ (Arthur Bryant’s isn’t as good IMO) and good times in the Midwest.
I’ll do the AL today, the NL tomorrow on the last day of fan voting.
Jose’s vote: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox. Not having a great year by his standards, but he’s Mexican. Orale!
Deserving player: Paul Konerko, White Sox. 13 HRs, 39 RBI, batting .333 going into today. If only the Dodgers hadn’t let him go way back when.
Jose’s vote: Dustin Ackley, Mariners. .245 clip, but he’s going to be a star someday.
Deserving player: Robinson Cano, Yankees. Hits for power, leads in fan voting. But I’m pretty much anti-Yankees, so he didn’t get my vote. They win too much. I like underdogs.
Jose’s vote: Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland. I’ve always liked how he plays, and at .291 with some good solid numbers, he’s somewhat deserving.
Deserving player: Derek Jeter, Yankees. What a player for so many years, and still playing at a high level.
Jose’s vote: Adrian Beltre, Rangers. A former Dodger and a guy who has made a good solid career for himself. He’s got that crazy from-the-knees uppercut swing but also a .328 average, so he’s deserving.
Deserving player: Beltre is the leading vote-getter, but there’s an argument for Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, who is batting .304 with 59 RBI.
Jose’s vote: Michael Young, Rangers. Mexican heritage (did you know?). And he’s good and can still play in the field.
Deserving player: Big Papi David Ortiz, Red Sox. .307, 20 HR, 52 RBI.
Jose’s vote: Jesus Montero, Mariners. He’s got average numbers. Hey, someone has to make it from the Mariners, right? Probably just going to be a pitcher though.
Deserving player: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox. .284 average, 12 HRs, 41 RBI to lead all AL catchers. But only fourth in fan voting.
Jose’s vote: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; Alejandro De Aza, White Sox; Ichiro, Mariners. Bautista has a low average but 24 HRs, how can you not love that? De Aza strikes out a little much but he’s been solid for the Sox, and Ichiro, well, it’s sort of a lifetime achievement vote.
Deserving players: Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Mark Trumbo, Angels; Adam Jones, Orioles. Hamilton is the best player in the game. Trumbo is having a great year (.320, 18 HR, 50 RBI) and Jones is keeping the Orioles around in the AL East race with a .298 average, 19 HRs and 40 RBI. He also leads the AL with 87 hits.