July 2, 2007 [LINK / comment]
All-Star rosters, 2007
Because of unexpectedly heavy political "fallout" from the recent primary election here in Virginia, I didn't have enough time to submit my picks for this year's All-Star teams. I don't have any major problems with the starting rosters (see below), but I'll admit I'm not that familiar with first baseman Prince Fielder, who is only in his second season. He was one of four Milwaukee Brewers chosen, the first time that many players from that team had been picked since 1982, which was their World Series debut. See MLB.com. It says a lot that he was picked ahead of Albert Pujols, widely considered a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Those two are ahead of Dmitri Young, the only All-Star player from the Washington Nationals. I think Jorge Posada, batting .336 right now, had a much better claim to the catcher's slot than Ivan Rodriguez, who is batting only .283. It would appear that the team's win-loss record must count for more than the individual player's performance.
UPDATE: For complete details, see MLB.com.
Yankees in a "free fall"
USA Today/Gannett columnist Mike Lopresti summarized the unbelievably poor record of the Bronx Bombers this year, despite Roger Clemens and an enormous payroll. The Yanks find themselves 11 games behind the division-leading Red Sox, and are now in danger of falling into fourth place after a 1-7 road trip. Imagine that...
Nats avoid two straight sweeps
The Washington Nationals got swept by the Braves in Atlanta last week, including an ugly 13-0 blowout, and narrowly avoided getting swept by the Pirates in Pittsburgh over the weekend. On Sunday, Chad Cordero finally managed to save a game, preserving a one-run lead in the ninth inning. I think we can narrow down the Nationals' woes to two basic shortcomings: lousy batting (team average .247, ranking 28th out of 30 in the majors, and dead last in number of home runs, with 47) and lousy pitching (ranking 25th, with a team ERA of 4.78) Only once since June 13 have the Nats scored more than four runs.
Patterson's bad arm
The Nationals have been without their ace pitcher John Patterson since early May, and he is getting so frustrated from his arm's lack of progress in healing that he is planning to go to Canada to get unorthodox homeopathic treatments, including injections. This does not sound good at all. See MLB.com.
The mail bag
William Carron would like to know what persons were commemorated by the center-field plaques at the Polo Grounds; he knows the one on the far left side was for Christy Mathewson, but doesn't know about the others. There was a monument to fallen World War I soldier Eddie Grant in straightaway center field, and I have seen some photos that seem to show two plaques on either side of it, on the wall beneath the clubhouse window. Does anyone know for sure?