Pablo Sandoval and NL All-Star Snubs: It’s Your Time, but Manuel Says Otherwise

July 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

“Feel the wind and set yourself a bolder course…you’ll sail the perfect line…in your time.”

—Bob Seger, “In Your Time”

It should have been this year, 2009, but it’s coming for Pablo Sandoval.  Sooner or later, he will get his due and the entire baseball world will realize how special this player is.  Until then, I’ll do my best to hasten that day’s arrival.

With that in mind…

What’s the matter, Charlie Manuel?  Couldn’t figure a way to get Matt Stairs and Carlos Ruiz on the team?

I mean, without Stairs’ October bomb, there are no World Series rings in the City of Brotherly Love.  And Ruiz was one of the postseason heroes from behind the dish.

And how about ace Cole Hamels or Mr. Perfect, Brad Lidge?

Hamels was both the National League Championship Series and World Series Most Valuable Player; the Philly closer never blew a save all year.  Let’s get them to St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star Game as well.

Why not?

If you’re gonna blatantly reach for one of your own guys, why not REALLY reach?

Shoot, grab Jamie Moyer—at least I’d have some perverse form of respect for you instead of a total lack thereof.

Forget Pablo Sandoval for one hot second.

As much as it kills me to do this, Little Panda and his obscene first half of achievement aren’t even the scope of it anymore.  Well, they are—they’re just the parts I’ve already told. Twice.

Suffice it to say the disrespect has only gotten deeper.

But it’s also spread.

Fellow San Francisco Giants fans, brace yourselves—I’ve got to advocate for a Los Angeles Dodger.  Even worse, it’s one I’ve discovered a special disdain for due to his arrogance (although he seems to have smoothed that a bit).

Matt Kemp warranted a nod over Jayson Werth.

Unfortunately (or fortunately…I’m so confused), that’s debatable because the Philadelphia outfielder is having a pretty insane season.  Statistically, it’s slightly better than Kemp’s, but Kemp has been a vital cog for the best team in The Show over the first half.  Hence, I’d lean toward the Bum.

Just threw up a little in my mouth.

Only slightly, though.

So, instead of focusing on one of the deserving Phightin’s, let’s settle on Ryan Howard.  Because Kemp laps big dawg and you can dilute the Dodger taint by throwing in Michael Bourn’s name as well as that of Mark Reynolds and Little Money:

Player        R   2B 3B  HR   RBI  SO  SB   OBP   SLG  AVG

Reynolds   55  17   1   24   62   120  15  .353  .545  .262

Howard     53  20   2   22   66   101   4   .342  .532  .258

Sandoval   41  24   3   15   55   47    4    .387  .583  .334

Kemp        48  12   6   11   50   76   19   .388  .502  .324

Bourn        56  15   8   3    25    70   32   .364  .412  .290

Look at those numbers.  Tell me how you choose Ryan Howard.

If you’re going for power and run production, then Mark Reynolds has him beat unless you’re gonna argue three more doubles, four more RBI, and an extra triple makes up for Howard’s deficiencies in runs, home runs, stolen bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and average.

Forget about strikeouts; if you’re considering either of these gusts of wind, you’re not worried about whiffs.

And if you’re not basing the decision on pure run production, then Howard becomes the joke of the group.

He has the lowest average, lowest on-base percentage, an obscene amount of Ks (which would also doom Reynolds in this equation) while not outpacing any of the other candidates appreciably enough to compensate.

And those are simply raw numbers.

Consider the composition of the team:

Catcher (2)—Yadier Molina, Brian McCann

First base (4)—Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard

Second base (3)—Chase Utley, Orlando Hudson, Freddy Sanchez

Third base (2)—David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman

Shortstop (2)—Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada

Outfield (7)—Raul Ibanez, Ryan Braun, Brad Hawpe, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Justin Upton

Anything jump out at you there?

Like having four first basemen while there’s not even a backup for each outfielder?  Or only two capable stars at such important positions as catcher, shortstop, and the hot corner?

How about when you realize Reynolds and Sandoval patrol third base—the Arizona Diamondback is almost as brutal with the mitt as Howard while Sandoval is approaching sublime territory (he’s not quite there yet)—while Bourn and Kemp do the same in the big green?

And don’t give me the “first base is the deepest position” argument.

You already had three guys there, which qualifies as deep on this team.  Furthermore, that argument only holds water if Howard were the next most deserving first sacker on the docket.

I’d argue Todd Helton or Lance Berkman wears that mantle since each can hang with the big Phillie’s offensive production and neither is a blundering disaster with the leather.

Which is what makes this whole thing so blatantly and undeniably ridiculous.

Ryan Howard doesn’t belong on the team based on pure production.  He really doesn’t belong on the team considering the depth at the position he plays.  And he really, really doesn’t belong there when you factor in the unilateral dimension of what he brings.

Home runs—that’s IT (and, even there, Adam Dunn would’ve been a better option).

So Ryan Howard is from St. Louis, so what?

Hey, I was born in the STL.  Can I get on the team?

Does Ryan need a free trip home in this tightening economy?  Do his boyhood haunts need to see him at an All-Star game actually in St. Louis to know for sure he’s a star?

Odd, I would’ve thought the 2006 NL MVP award or the trip to that year’s All-Star Game or the 2009 World Series would’ve convinced them.  How much recognition does one man need?

But Chuckles Manuel isn’t alone.

The madness has even reached its tentacles into the American League, where Tampa Bay Ray manager Joe Maddon skimmed over Ian Kinsler in order to nab Carlos Pena as a replacement for Dustin Pedroia.

I won’t get too into that one, but both Kinsler and Pedroia play the same position.  Furthermore, most rational baseball minds know the Ranger should not only be at the Mid-Summer Classic, he should be starting.

Now, the second base dynamo gets to watch from home.

He’s not on the team because Maddon needed to reward another one of his guys.  According to the link, the rest of the starting infield was on the squad so, apparently, Joe couldn’t leave off the fourth.

Heaven forbid.

Pena makes five All-Stars for the Rays, who currently slumber in third place of an admittedly rugged division.

So, it begs the question:  What exactly is this game?

Is it an All-Star game for 2009?  Or is an excuse for 2008 World Series participants to trot out all their favorite guys on yet another national stage?

If it’s the latter, fine.  But let’s call it that—this outright deception is for the birds.

And I’m merely a San Francisco Giant fan, angry the most deserving All-Star (Pablo Sandoval) isn’t at the game.

What if you had a nice little cash bonus fading into oblivion because Manuel tabbed a player he “wanted to go?”  What if your next contract is a little lighter because you have to put “All-Star worthy” instead of “All-Star?”

What if you’re Michael Bourn or Mark Reynolds or Matt Kemp or (gulp) Pablo Sandoval and you suffer a career-ending injury in the second half?  Say “adieu” to your one and only chance at All-Star glory.

I guess you can take solace in Ryan Howard’s hometown fans seeing him play in his second All-Star Game.


Luckily for Pablo Sandoval and San Francisco Giant fans, Little Panda has given every impression his slight will be fuel for a second-half rampage.

One that will, by the benevolence of the Baseball Gods, linger for an entire career’s worth of All-Star appearances and reverent recognition.

Therein lies the true solace…

“There’ll be peace across the great unbroken void…in your time.”


Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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