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Columnist: R.A. Dickey deserves All-Star nod over Strasburg

Jul 3, 2010, 9:39 AM EDT

Baseball is my life, but working on 4th of July weekend can be a bit of a drag. It’s true. I’d much rather be eating a hot dog while jumping through the sprinkler in the front yard or something. Thankfully, columnists like Rob Parker of ESPNNewYork.com are always around to cheer me up.

Seriously, this is the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Enjoy.

We hate to interrupt this automatic trip to Cooperstown less than a
month into Strasburg’s career, but, hello, he’s just a .500 pitcher for a
bad team. Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA. If it were anybody else –
especially a young pitcher without a proven track record — there
wouldn’t even be a debate about an All-Star selection.

Even as impressive as 14 strikeouts in his debut are, it wasn’t even a
record. J.R. Richard punched out 15 in his debut in 1971.

More than Strasburg’s numbers alone, there’s simply a more deserving
pitcher in the NL. Enter New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey.

Yeah, I get what he’s doing here. He’s setting up Saturday’s pitching matchup between Dickey and Strasburg. Weird choice for a column, but we’ll forgive that. It’s nice to see anybody in New York not talking about LeBron James. Anyway, he continues.

But the All-Star Game — last we checked — isn’t about what you’ve done
for your entire career. It’s about what you have accomplished during
the first half of the season.

There are two significant pieces of ignorance here. One, that Strasburg’s win-loss record means anything whatsoever, especially when the Nationals have scratched across one measly run over his last three starts combined. And two, that the All-Star Game is actually about what a player has accomplished during the first half of the season. It’s a complete fallacy that continues to live on for reasons I can’t understand.

Two weeks ago, I made a brief case for Strasburg to pitch in the game and it really had nothing to do with superficial statistics like his win-loss record. Yes, he may walk away from this afternoon’s start 2-3, but if he strikes out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball, I’m still okay with him representing the Nationals in the All-Star Game. Why? Because he’s good and he could help the National League win home-field advantage for the World Series. That’s why.

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a Mets fan. I love what R.A. Dickey has been doing. He has been a lot of fun to watch. But we’re talking about eight starts from a pitcher who has a career 5.17 ERA. I’m not saying he’s Aaron Small or anything, but if the All-Star Game is truly about winning, the best players in baseball should be there. Dickey just isn’t one of them.
 

  1. Alex Poterack - Jul 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    The most ridiculous thing is that he says “he has a 2-2 record with a 2.27 ERA,” as though that means he’s NOT deserving. Huh? ERA isn’t perfect (but if you’re quoting wins and losses, you probably don’t understand why it’s not perfect), but 2.27 is REALLY damn good. Is he weighting W/L record that heavily? What the hell?

  2. I'veGottaSignInNow?*Sighs* - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Disagree. Participation in the All-Star game is a reward for the players who have had, well, an “All-Star caliber” first half. Take Mark Teixeira for example. Dude has had a great career through his first 7 seasons, but this year he is hitting .232 with a mediocre .754 OPS. Does he deserve to participate based on what he has done over his career excluding 2010? How about Babe Ruth in 1935 with the Boston Braves? Did he deserve an All-Star Game nod? How about Rickey Henderson during his 2003 season in LA, or even his 2002 season in Boston? I’m not saying Dickey deserves to be in, but come on. Strasburg’s been here for 6 trips in the rotation. The notion that he deserves to go because he’s projected to be a future baseball diety is absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Ditto65 - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Why don’t we wait until everyone has seen this kid and know what to expect before we canonize him?
    And DJ, you can still eat hot dogs and run through the sprinkler. Just check back every once in a while. :-)

  4. D.J. Short - Jul 3, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Don’t disagree with what you are saying, but I think that’s because the objective of the All-Star Game has been skewed. It’s confusing. Yes, it’s an exhibition, but it also decides home field advantage in the World Series. What?
    Just the same, I’d rather have Justin Verlander in the game than Jason Vargas. First half statistics matter to a degree, but they shouldn’t be everything.
    Finally, I don’t care that Matt Capps leads the National League in saves and therefore is the obvious representative for the Nationals. It isn’t about him being some “future baseball diety,” Stephen Strasburg is simply the better pitcher right now. If the NL actually wants to beat the AL for the first time since 1996, I think he should be there instead of Capps.
    That being said, watch the Mets knock him around for six runs today. Not that I would complain…

  5. john pileggi - Jul 3, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Who cares?

  6. I'veGottaSignInNow?*Sighs* - Jul 3, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Thanks for the response, you make some good points. I suppose if it was just a mere exhibition, then the guys with the best first-half numbers would all be there. But since there’s so much more on the line, it does make sense to have guys like Verlander there as opposed to the Doug Fister’s and Jason Vargas’ of the world.
    Don’t even get me started on the whole fan-vote concept though!

  7. Chris W - Jul 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    The all-star game absolutely should take first half into consideration. Your point about Tex is a very good one. However, it should also take career into account. No, you don’t take the guy hitting .230 just because he’s a career .300 hitter, but if you’re making the argument that–just to invent an example–a career 5.40 ERA pitcher should go over a perennial Cy Young winner because the 5.40 pitcher’s first half numbers are slightly better, then you’re misinterpreting the idea. I don’t necessarily know if Strasburg will pitch better in the game. But given his track record vs. Dickey’s, and given that Strasburg’s 1st half numbers are pretty excellent themselves, it’s hard to make the argument that Dickey is a better choice unless your only criteria are “first half numbers” or “time logged in MLB”

  8. Turd_Spelunker - Jul 4, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    I think its about the fans. Do the fans want to see Srasmas pitch in the all star game? I do. Who cares about his numbers. I think he should pitch in the game if that is what the fans want to see.

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