A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All-Star GWYNNsday

If you've checked out the website of an MLB team in the past month, you've no doubt been beaten senseless with ads crying for All-Star votes.  Recently, on the MLB Network, they've been running commercials with players saying how important the All-Star Game is for the playoffs.  And of course, if a player makes the All-Star team, then they'll probably have an All-Star card in Topps' Update Series.

I'm going to go ahead and say something (okay, write something) that it seems most people don't agree with.

I think it's great that every team is represented in the All-Star game.

A lot of people make a big fuss about teams sending a player who is obviously less qualified just because he's the best his team has to offer.  They say that it dilutes the talent and takes the opportunity away from a more worthy player.

I can't say that I necessarily disagree with those statements.  There are always going to be snubs, regardless of league, sport, or (really) your profession.  But here's why I think it's great that all the teams are represented (and no, it's not because I'll whine if no Padres make it, although outside of Carlos Quentin, I don't think there's any great candidates).

Because the All-Star game isn't about the players.  It's about the fans.

Don't believe me?  Ask Derek Jeter, who (with all due respect to the Yankee captain) didn't even bother going to the festivities last year.  It is and should always be about the fans.  The Home Run Derby is great for bragging rights (I guess?), but fans think it's great to watch a bunch of maniacs clobber baseballs into the seats.  Having been to two All-Star Fan Fests (1992 in San Diego and 2010 in Anaheim), I can definitely say that the focus is on the fans.

If I wanted to watch a game full of All-Stars that weren't on my team, I'd watch the Yankees play the Rangers sometime (for reals, though, as of this post, the leading vote getters in the AL were all from New York or Texas, with the exception of Prince Fielder).  Watching the All-Star game without even a chance to see someone from your team go against the league's best would be like having a baseball card set that didn't have any base cards from your team (Topps Archives, I'm looking at you!).

Luckily, when Tony Gwynn was still playing, Padre fans never had to worry about not being represented.  A 15-time All-Star (!),  Tony made the team every year from 1984 to 1999, with the exception of 1988 (a year in which he led the league in batting average, no less!).  A lifetime .338 hitter, Tony didn't quite have the same success in the Midsummer Classic, going 7 for 29 with a double, 4 runs, 4 RBIs, and 3 walks.  One of his biggest ASG Highlights was scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 10th on a Moises Alou double in 1994.

Any guesses as to who the Padres rep will be?  I have no idea.

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