Tag: all-star game

All-Star Game Rosters by rWAR

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Someone over at reddit compiled a set of all-star rosters based on players current WAR stat on Baseball Reference. WAR = Wins Above Replacement, and is used to compare how many wins a player contributes to the team above a generic replacement level player. Here’s the starting lineups:

Starting Lineups

For the starters, I simply selected the player with the highest WAR (according to baseball-reference, aka rWAR) at each position, including one starting pitcher. For the NL DH, I selected the player with the highest offensive WAR that wasn’t already at a different starting position.

Then there’s all the backup players:

Reserve Roster

For the reserves, I first selected the player with the second-highest WAR at each position. For pitchers, I selected the four next-highest starters and the top three relievers (you’ll notice these aren’t necessarily closers). I then accounted for any teams which didn’t already have a player represented and chose the player from their team with the highest WAR. For the remaining spots, I chose the next-highest WARs across all teams and positions, with a total of 13 pitchers on each roster.

See some notable absentees? Perhaps guys from major market teams who are going to get voted in based on popularity not how good they are this year at baseballing: David Ortiz. Derek Jeter.

[Business Day One] Know Your All Stars – NL


In last week’s Business Day one column, I did you all the great service of introducing some of the lesser known American League All Stars to the blog reading public.  And this week, as promised, I’ll do the same with the National League.  Apparently, AAAA Baseball has stars too!

We’re all fairly familiar with the suddenly ageless Chipper Jones and ocassionally creepy looking Alfonso Soriano, but there are quite a few players that are separated from the public by a thirty foot high wall of apathy.  Let’s take a look at a few.

-Astros first baseman Lance Berkman coined his own nickname: The Big Puma.  This replaced his old nickname, which was Fat Elvis.

-Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is, according to his own website, “an incredible father,” has Denzel Washington as his favorite actor and a Lamborghini Murcielago as his fifth favorite car.  Really, just fifth?

-If you want to get to Ashland, Kentucky, you may need to drive on Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb.  Or, more specifically, a highway named in his honor.

-Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is involved with Affliction Clothing, a fashion designer out of California that apparently outfits the scariest and deadliest looking men on Earth.  Not tough enough?  Well, he’s also called the Hebrew Hammer by at least one guy.

-Other Brewers outfield Corey Hart is apparently quite an accomplished singer in his spare time, releasing the famous pop hit “Sunglasses at Night” back in the 1980s.  He’s sinced toured the world and… wait… different Corey Hart?  Hmmm.  Well this is awkward.

-Ok, I’ll get it right this time.  Dodgers catcher Brian Wilson was widely regarded as the creative force behind the Beach Boys and… SON OF A… sorry.

Happy All Starring, everybody!

[Business Day One] Know Your All Stars – AL

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There’s a term I use when discussing baseball called The Fantasy Fandom Factor.  The basic premise is that there is a multi-tiered hierarchy of Major League ballplayers: (1) The Guys You Know and Love Because They’re On Your Team, (2) The Guys You Know and Perhaps Love Because They’re Really Good, and (3) The Guys You Know Merely Because You Play Fantasy Baseball.  As recently as fifteen years ago (before fantasy took over the national consciousness), even diehard MLB fans had no idea who anyone outside of the top players were outside of their home team’s division.  But now, these diehards have a vested interest in knowing who everyone is; it helps them win their fantasy leagues and garner the nerd-cred that comes with it.

Unfortunately, this gives rise to a new problem.  Fans know who these Category Three players are, but only insofar as their names, teams and stats.  They don’t know who they really are, deep down, below their slugging percentage.  Are they nice folks?  Do they have kids?  Where are they from?  Have they nailed Madonna?  As I was perusing the MLB All Star Game rosters, I realized there are a lot of Category Three folks that got the nod this year.  And since I’m in the business of helping you, the readers, I’m going to give you all a crash course on the roster so you can adequately wow your friends at your rockin’ All Star Game party.  We’ll start with the American League Roster, and maybe if you’re lucky I’ll do the NL next week.

AL Roster – Category 1 and 2:  Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis (being called the Greek God of Walks in a major book will bump you from a 3 to a 1), Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, David Ortiz, Mariano Rivera, Scott Kazmir, Grady Sizemore, J.D. Drew (no one forgets a battery storm).

Category 3 Player Fun Facts:

-Angels Pitcher Ervin Santana was originally named Johan Santana, but changed his name when the other Johan Santana started demolishing baseball with the most unfair change-up in history.  He changed his name to Ervin because it sounded cool to him.

-Diminutive Red Sox Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia can be an emergency catcher in the case of some gruesome Jason Varitek-Kevin Cash collision during warm-up laps.

-Rangers Second Baseman Ian Kinsler, like Pedroia, went to Arizona State for a little while.  When not crisping in the sun, he enjoys a spirited round of golf.  Which involves more crisping in the sun.  In related news, someone should buy him sunscreen.

-Royals Pitcher Joakim Soria has the greatest active baseball nickname: The Mexicutioner.  Unfortunately, only the 20 people that live in Kansas City know it.

-Rangers Centerfielder Josh Hamilton battled drugs and alcohol for years before willing himself to go clean.  Even now, he is racked by dreadful dreams or his dark time.  When not clobbering baseballs, he goes on the road as a public speaker.

-Rays Catcher Dioner Navarro, who I’m making a pitch to be called The Venezuelmageddonator, is one of the best young catchers in the game.  That’s some feat, considering that fate has been absurdly cruel to his family this decade.

Go, baseball fans.  Armed with this knowledge, please look at these players are more than simply on-base machines for your fantasy team.  They are your All Stars, so enjoy them for who they are and what they do!

My Buddy: Thor

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Thor (Eric Byrnes) vs. Captain Marvel (??)Today I want to tell you about another one of my favorite baseball players: Thor. Now you probably know him by his real name – Eric Byrnes, but I (and my friends) call him Thor. The reason for this name dates back to May 2005 and his time on the Oakland Athletics. I was at Fenway park with a friend or two and we were watching the A’s batting practice. There was one player with blond locks enjoying himself, making some catches, saying hi to the fans, and throwing some of the balls he caught into the stands. I asked around if anyone knew who that was – no one knew, but one answer was “I don’t know, but he looks like Thor.” So Thor was the hero of batting practice.

Byrnes needs a little powderDuring the game, we got to see Thor made some great catches and have a good night at the plate (1 for 3, 2B, 2BB, 2Runs), Macha was thrown out, and the Sox were up by enough that Fenway emptied out by the eighth allowing me to move right up behind the plate. So from then on I have started to follow Thor.

Well, Thor and his dog, Bruin, have now hit the big time: They went to the All-Star Game. No he wasn’t selected to the team; he was out in a kayak in McCovey Cove as a player-commentator for FOX (insert stupid robot sounds here). So Thor like to ham it up and be on TV. Another example of this is this short video clip: Read More

“Ah, you hate to see another tired man lay down his hand like he was giving up the holy game of poker.”


The Boston Red Sox are on a historic tear, 12 10 games ahead of the Yankees.  The fans have been behind the team with record support.  The bullpen’s contributing, the new call-up players are fan favorites.  And we’re 12 10 games ahead of the Yankees.  How sweet it is, right?

As of July 10th, 2007, the Boston Red Sox are 53-34, having gone 5-5 on their last ten.

Oh NoesAs of last year’s All-Star Break (July 11th, 2006), the Boston Red Sox were 51-32, having gone 6-4 on their last ten.  They ended the season 11 games behind the Yankees, in a slump that most fans were ashamed to be seen watching.

The moral, as always: it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

When I did debate in high school, we’d play Hearts in the long idle hours between rounds.  Our debate coach Mr. Durkin taught us the game and he was never too big of a man not to whup our asses at the game soundly.  The trick to pro-level Hearts play is to count the cards (not hard with just one deck) and know what tricks are still out there.  He made it look easy.

Bring out the bitch!In games where it wasn’t even close, Mr. Durkin would lay down his last five or six cards and just play them blind.  Flipping them over lazily one at a time, sending freshmen back to his room to grab beer out of the sink (“and I counted how many are in there”).  One or two of us would try the same stunt when we felt cocky, almost always blushing and fumbling the cards back up once we realized we’d counted wrong.

“You never play your cards blind,” Mr. Durkin reminded us, “unless you know how the game’s going to turn out.”

Let me remind Red Sox Nation, high on the thrill of an early lead, the same thing I remind them every time they end the summer down: they don’t play the World Series in August. Don’t start folding your hands behind your head just yet.  Don’t start buying that Jordan’s furniture.  Don’t throw your cards down and play them blind.

The season’s young.  Anything could happen.

[Business Day One] We Could Use A Break


Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break elicits the same response from me every year.

“Holy crap, the season’s half over?”

Every single summer, without fail, I get completely surprised by the All-Star Break. As with all things I dislike in the world, I blame the media. For the first two months of the season, whenever a sports commentator talks about a team’s momentum or a player’s hitting slump, they always attach the “but it’s still early” rider on the end. Then, for two weeks, sports analysts don’t make reference to how far into the season we are and we as fans just sort of forget. And all of a sudden, we start hearing “coming into the All-Star Break.” What?!?!?! Already?!!?! But the season was still young two weeks ago? Read More



At Shea on Monday night, I learned two things: (1) the campaign for Paul Lo Duca, All-Star is in full swing- this kind of thing is, of course, commonly known as “just being greedy;” and (2) a cathartic win like that is much better in person- even if followed up the next day by an absolute drubbing.

All-Star voting strikes me as both awesome and stupid- awesome because, hey, up with people; stupid because, hey, people are dumb. But there’s a new campaign brewing which could single-handedly derail the entire democratic process, turn night into day, and bring dogs, cats, and birds together into some monstrous type of anti-human alliance.

Vote For Sal. Yes, Sal. Fasano. Click it.

You see, the power of Sal has -finally!- been mathematically proven. The other day Sal was designated for assignment. As a direct result, and I swear this is scientifically accurate, the Blue Jays lost 10-1 to the Dodgers. How can you ignore such overwhelming evidence? Sal Fasano will likely be out of baseball in 4 days- unless he makes the All-Star team! Despite not playing for any major league baseball club! No conceivable outcome would do more to undermine the fan-voting process and show the world that YOU truly deserved to be Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Change the world. Vote for Sal. Deprive the Long Island Ducks of a catching prospect.

Postscript: Holy shit.