Right Field

Reveille 7/8/13

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:

  • The rosters for the respective leagues for next Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Citi Field were announced over the weekend.
  • Each league still has one spot up for grabs, to be chosen by the fans. Crashburn Alley’s Bill Baer offers his thoughts on the candidacy of Yasiel Puig:

I can completely understand and appreciate a player’s perspective on this. Many players go their entire careers without ever making it onto an All-Star roster. Others come close, but are looked over in favor of other players (like Puig, perhaps). Others routinely make the All-Star team but put in a lot of work to maintain the level of skill necessary to do that.

The All-Star Game, however, is famously about the fans. Everything about it, from the All-Star balloting, to the live selection show on TV, to the Home Run Derby, to the Futures Game and Celebrity Softball Game, to the 30-minute pre–All-Star Game festivities — none of it is for the players, but for the fans. In the past, the All-Star Game was designed to give fans of a team in one league [an opportunity] to see the best players the other league has to offer, since they played so rarely. Now, with interleague play, MLB.tv, and a plethora of channels showing games and highlights, fans are well versed when it comes to players on other rosters, but the interest in the All-Star Game remains.

  • Dan Moore of Viva el Birdos profiles the Matt Holliday contract, the most lucrative ever inked by the Cardinals, and wonders if the deal, now in its fourth year, is about to hit the rocks.    
  • You now know who are the first half’s WARStars. Well, Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation names the ten worst position players, as judged by WAR. One of those on his list is B. J. Upton:

If you thought Upton was a good offensive player, you were pretty confident that Tropicana Field was an extreme pitcher’s park. If you thought Upton was okay, you were probably like the rest of us. But no one can ever predict a 28-year-old getting completely screwed into the ground like this. Strikeouts up, extra-base hits down, more grounders, more infield pop-ups and just 43 hits in 283 plate appearances. Seven of those were infield hits.

The worst part about the ranking: it has nothing to do with defense because Upton is rated higher than he has been in other seasons. Actually, the worst part about the ranking is everything. Everyone thought it was a good thing that he joined his brother, but maybe his brother just whales on him around the clock like mine did.

Wait, but B.J. is the older one. None of this makes sense.

  • Doug at High Heat Stats looks back at the legendary pitchers’ duel between Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn, which took place on July 2, half a century ago. 
  • Fangraphs’ David Laurila posts a fun interview with Pat Tabler of early-to-mid-1980s Indians fame. Here is the first baseman reminiscing about a couple of the brawls he experienced while playing for the Tribe:

In 1986, we were playing the A’s, who we always had hard-fought games with. Pat Corrales was our manager and he thought Dave Stewart was throwing at one of our guys. He was barking at him and Stew said, “Come on out here.” Corrales did. They met at the first base line and went after each other. Both of them had belts in karate. Corrales went to dropkick, and missed, and Stew smoked him. It was on after that. It was a good fight.

Another time, against the Royals, Jamie Quirk hit a home run against us. Next time up, Sammy Stewart hit him with a pitch and broke his hand. The following night, with Ken Schrom pitching, Willie Wilson hit a fly ball to center. As our center fielder is catching the ball, Kenny is standing behind the mound waiting for the ball to come in. Wilson charged him and blindsided him — he threw him into the ground and separated Schrommy’s shoulder. I was playing third base and saw it coming. I yelled, “Look out!” right before he smoked him. Willie had been a great football player in high school.

  • For the very first time, a MLB umpire has reportedly been canned for testing positive for narcotics. Brian Runge, whose father and grandfather also umped in the bigs, was a 14-year veteran.       
  • Speaking of “blue,” I think it’s safe to say that future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones is no fan of Angel Hernandez. Mark Townsend of Big League Stew has the details.
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Brooks Robinson Manny Machado is just ridiculous. (Go ahead, tell me this isn’t the defensive play of the year.)

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.