Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Downside of a Democracy

Wife Week continues here at The Common today. The starters for the annual All Star Game have been voted on by fans since 1970. While this has, presumably, increased the fan interest in the game, and become an annual tradition, it has also led to terrible selections, such as Jimmy Rollins, who currently leads NL shortstops despite only playing in 11 games this year. Such is the problem, and the wonderful thing, about democracy. Everybody has a vote, no matter how ill informed. And many choose to exercise it, and we get Alvin Greene running for Senate in South Carlina. On Monday, TCM mentioned that his disinterested wife’s All Star ballot was a sight to behold. So last night, TCM asked his wife to recall why she punched holes next to the names she did at the Twins game this past weekend. What follows are her choice, followed by her reasoning, followed by TCM’s choice and analysis of her pick.

National League

First Base: Albert Pujols (.309/.425/.559, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 2.6 WAR)
I chose him because his name sounds like “Poo holes.” Like “Anus.” And I’ve always loved his name.

(TCM’s take: A good pick right off the bat. While the reasoning is (ahem) interesting to say the least, The Uncommon Wife’s choice could not have been better. Pujols is the best player in the National League and is almost certainly going to be considered one of the greatest players who ever lived when his career is done.)

Second Base: Martin Prado (.333/.375/.464, 92 hits, 18 doubles, 6 HR, 47 runs, 1.6 WAR)
Because that’s just one letter away from Prada, which is a hell of a pair of shoes.

(TCM’s take: Not a bad choice, given the excellent season that Prado has had thusfar. That said, Chase Utley has been the best in the league for the last five years, and is having another strong (though down, so far) season for the Phillies. Utley’s defense is much better than Prado’s).

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez (.290/.374/.492, 10 HR, 12 SB, 1.7 WAR)
He was the only dude there not named “Escobar” or “Cabrera.”

(TCM’s take: Hanley’s been the best non-Pujols player in the NL for the past two years, and is having another good season. Troy Tulowitzki is having a better year (2.3 WAR), but TCM has no problem rewarding Hanley for his past success.)

Third Base: David Freese (.309/.374/.435, 1.6 WAR)
I like Seattle. He’s a good player. I like him, he’s got some chops. He’s got a good arm on him. Can hit a little bit. And I hope the All Star Game is somewhere nice so he can get out of Seattle, where it rains all the time.

(TCM’s take: TCM loves the clich├ęs here, as well as The Uncommon Wife’s belief that STL is baseball’s abbreviation for Seattle. This is a very good year for 3B in the National League. Freese is having a good Spring, and looks to be a productive player for the near future. That said, the trio of Scott Rolen, Ryan Zimmerman, and David Wright are far and away better than Freese. In particular, despite the earlier concerns about Wright from the always level-headed New York media, Wright’s 2010 is right in line with the rest of his career. He already has more homers than he had in all of last year, and he leads the NL in RBI (50). His 2.9 WAR has also already eclipsed last year’s mark. Plus, he’s swiped 11 bags so far.

Catcher: Miguel Olivo (.311/.379/.534, 8 HR, 2.0 WAR)
I think he’s a good catcher. If there’s any man I’d like to see squat behind the plate, it’s Olivo. Besides, look at his batting thingy this year, it’s .318 (now .311). That’s pretty good for a catcher, right? Right?

(TCM’s take: Amazingly, Olivo has been the best catcher in the NL this year. He hasn’t played as much as Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, or Geovany Soto (all of whom would be justifiable picks in the abstract), but Olivo’s great start makes him the right guy here.)


Jason Heyward (.268/.389/.486, 10 HR, 36 runs, 43 RBI, 1.7 WAR, 34 kitties saved from trees, 13 evil geniuses bent on world domination defeated, 1 resurrection from the dead (Troy Glaus))
Justin Upton (.242/.317/.425, 10 HR, 3 RBI, 1.0 WAR)
Raul Ibanez (.250/.342/.395, 4 HR, 28 RBI, -0.1 WAR)

Because nobody really gives a shit what happens in the outfield. All they have to do is go way up in the air.

(TCM’s take: Huh. That’s some reasoning. At least Heyward is a good choice, what with his Jesus-esque qualities. That said, Colby Rasmus (2.2 WAR) and Ryan Ludwick (2.0 WAR) are both having excellent seasons for the Cardinals (better than Holliday), and walking contradiction Angel Pagan (2.3 WAR) is also excelling for the Mets. The most valuable outfielder in the NL so far, however, according to WAR, has been Andrew McCutchen (2.8) of the Pirates. TCM would probably go with McCutchen, Heyward, and Rasmus.)

American League

First Base: Miguel Cabrera (.330/.410/.652, 19 homers, 56 RBI, 45 runs, 18 doubles, 2.7 WAR)
C’mon, the dude deserves to be thrown a bone. And since I discriminated against the Cabrera’s on the NL side, I thought I’d throw one in here.

(TCM’s take: Actually, if it weren’t for Justin Morneau and his .455 OBP and 4.2 WAR, Cabrera would be a very defensible choice. Miggy leads the AL in homers, RBI, and slugging percentage. That said, Morneau’s been out of this world.)

Second Base: Scott Sizemore (.336/.403/.473 (for AAA Toledo), .206/.297/.289, -0.3 in the majors)
That’s the baddest ass name in baseball.

(TCM’s take: Scott Sizemore will be happy to know that someone outside of his immediate family voted for him. Frankly, that’s the problem with making out these All Star ballots so far in advance. Sizemore has played his way back into the minors, and he still gets votes from Tigers fans and The Uncommon Wife. Robinson Cano, with his .368/.414/.609, and 4.2 WAR is the right choice here in what’s shaping up to be a career year.)

Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez (.261/.297/.399, 0.8 WAR)
I didn’t pick Jeter, I’m not that much of a douche. I think he runs really fast, and throws really fast, and gets to the ball really fast. He seems scrappy to me.

(TCM’s take: It’s a bad year for shortstops in the AL. Jeter’s performance is, indeed, way down. The best, so far, has been Alex Gonzalez, whose 13 homers screams fluke. Gonzalez has never had a season with a WAR above 1.9. He’s a 2.2 right now.)

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez (.290/.361/.482, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 2.0 WAR)
He’s freaking ARod. The dude boned Madonna. He gets on the ballot, like, forever. If you say no to ARod, that’s like saying no to Madonna. And no one says no to Madonna

(TCM’s take: Madonna or no, ARod continues to slide. His slugging percentage has fallen in each of the last three seasons, and you have to wonder whether the hip injury sapped some of his power. He’s still a very very good player, but nowhere near the class of Evan Longoria, who is still just 24 years old and has a 3.3 WAR.)

Catcher: Joe Mauer (.316/.393/.445, 35 runs, 19 doubles, 2.0 WAR)
He’s Joe Freaking Mauer. He hits the ball a lot, he runs a lot, to can always count on him to bring the ball home. I would have his babies. Besides, he’s The Boy’s favorite player.

(TCM’s take: Joe’s well off of last year’s pace, probably thanks to being overworked and to having to play in a new, power-sapping ballpark. That said, he’s still the best catcher in the American League. And TCM would totally have his babies too.)

Designated Hitter: Hideki Matsui (.265/.340/.435, 9 HR, 39 RBI, 0.4 WAR
He’s a good hitter. I think I thought that I like the Angels, and I’m not giving them enough love.

TCM’s take: Matsui has been largely a disappointment for the Angels this year, though he’s made a habit of alternating good years with injury-prone ones in recent years. Perhaps just staying on the field is helpful. However, despite contributing anything with the glove, Vladamir Guerrero has more than quadrupled Matsui’s production, with a 1.7 WAR. Vlad’s having a terrific year at the plate, reminding us that at 35, he may still have some lightning in that bat.)


Ichiro (.341/.395/.434, 29 runs, 19 SBs, 1.6 WAR)
Who doesn’t want to be able to yell “ICHIROOOOOOOOOOO!”

Torii Hunter (.285/.356/.502, 10 homers, 38 runs, 45 RBI, 0.9 WAR)
I like how he shakes his little butt.

Michael Cuddyer (.281/.344/.455, 36 runs, 0.1 WAR)

He hit the ball really well when he were watching him.

(TCM’s take: Kid you not, the three leaders in the AL in WAR are Ben Zobrist, Brett Gardner, and David DeJesus. Shin-Soo Choo and Alexis Rios are also having really strong years. Gun to his head, TCM takes Ichiro, Choo, and Gardner.)

In all, considering her general disinterest and haphazardness, The Uncommon Wife didn't do too bad. Six of her seventeen picks are dead on, and another four are at least defensible. Maybe hanging around The Common Man is good for her. Or maybe she's picked up a lot from other sources.

1 comment:

Thomas Wayne said...

I enjoyed that. It's neat to hear different perspectives on the game. Especially liked the "stats" on Heyward.