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MLB All Star game

Larry “Chipper” Jones addressed his teammates at the All-Star Game Wednesday night telling them what an honor it was to be in the same locker room and playing in the same game. Jones didn’t have to do tha, but the quiet, classy superstar was conducting himself at his eighth and final All-Star game the same way he generally has throughout his quiet, superstar career.

Jones is one of those rare baseball stars who truly warrant the farewell tour gifts he’s being given in most cities the Atlanta Braves pass through this season. And he’s likely just shy of six years away from having a bronze bust in Cooperstown.

That bust will be placed alongside those of several other players known more by their nicknames than by the name on their birth certificates, but unlike George Herman “Babe” Ruth, “The Mick” Mickey Mantle, “The Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams, “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson or even “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who belongs in the Hall of Fame, but is apparently banned in his afterlife as he was during the latter days of his life.

Not many people know Chipper Jones by his real name. And because he’s generally kept such a low profile during his career, many also are not aware how much he also had game. He’s not going to be a 3000-hit club member, or a 500-homerun club member.  He certainly won’t be next to Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente or Ozzie Smith, all of whom were known for their amazing defense as much if not more so than their hitting prowess.  He’s only won one Most Valuable Player award and one batting title.  He’s only won one World Series title.  Continue reading

I had the opportunity to go to the Twins game against the Kansas City Royals last night, and even had the chance to sit in some of the “Pretty People” seats with access to some special areas within the park.

More on my thoughts on Target Field later.

One thing that really caught my attention was when the Twins distributed All-Star ballots for voting mid-game.

I always enjoy looking at the ballots to see what ridiculous mistakes they’ve made as far as including players who have been benched, are at different positions, and other things that MLB should be able to fix on the fly with their printing vendors, given their clout.

But I got last night’s ballot, and was shocked to find out that the Twins had taken the liberty of punching out the holes for all of the Twins players on the ballot for me.

My wife initially thought that maybe we had gotten a recycled ballot–one someone had punched, not submitted, and an usher might have grabbed and put back in the box–but looking around, everyone’s ballots were punched.

Now I’m a home town fan, and I would definitely vote for Joe Mauer, and probably Justin Morneau (even though Miguel Cabrera probably deserves the start), and maybe even Delmon Young just to irritate the locals that don’t like him.

But no way on earth would I ever vote for Nick Punto to play 3rd base in an All-Star game.  I’m not sure I would even vote for him to be the 3rd string hot dog vendor for the outfield upper deck sections at an All-Star game.

In fact, I’d rather vote for someone like Evan Longoria, just to make sure that Alex Rodriguez doesn’t get the starting nod.

I know the Twins have been pushing hard on All-Star voting–emails, radio commercials, in stadium stuff–but is pre-filling out ballots ethical?  Do other teams do this?

[NOTE: I did find some non-pre-punched ballots at a booth later in the game–so not all ballots are given out this way. And I don’t think the ballot I got at a game a couple weeks back were either.]

If this is common around all stadiums, it’s just further confirmation that MLB needs to kill off fan voting having anything to do with All-Star game rosters–especially if they’re going to continue with the asinine idea that the winner of the All-Star game gets home field advantage in the World Series.

Curious to hear your thoughts on this in the comments…

Oh, and by the way, Punto is currently 5th in voting for 3rd base. Orlando Hudson is 4th at 2B, JJ Hardy is 3rd at SS, Jason Kubel 5th at DH, and Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer are both in the top 15–meaning the only Twin on the ballot not showing up in the results is Delmon Young…

When I saw the headline “MLB adopts four recommended rule changes to All-Star game” I had some hope that the league had finally decided to scrap its ridiculous method for selecting home field advantage in the World Series.

But alas, no matter how correct I am, not all of my ideas catch on.

I guess one of the rules the league did change makes some sense. The designated hitter will be used regardless of whether the game is being hosted in an American League or National League city. I like the strategy of National League ball but I am no more likely to tune in to watch the All-Star game because I want to see Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum hit. Continue reading

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