Skip to content

Is the All-Star Game a joke? Not to those who are here

Jul 11, 2011, 10:08 PM EST

Ricky Romero Reuters

PHOENIX – Where’s Derek Jeter?

That seemed to be the question on the mind of many during Monday’s media day leading up to Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Jeter, the Yankees shortstop, decided not to play in the game, as he has recently returned from the disabled list with a calf injury.

Jeter is one of 16 players either unable or unwilling to participate in the game. Some, like Alex Rodriguez, are out because of a serious injury, others because of nagging aches and pains. Several pitchers are not allowed to participate, by MLB rule, because they started games on Sunday.

Jeter is simply the most notable of the 16 in part because of who he is, but also because he returned from the DL six games ago. He has gone 10-for-27 since his return, and certainly seemed healthy on Saturday when he went 5-for-5 to surpass the 3,000-hit mark.

Some say his absence, along with that of several others, makes a mockery of the game. But it’s hard to take credibility away from an exhibition game, and no matter what Bud Selig does to give it some importance, the All-Star Game is just that.

Rest a balky calf for a playoff run or fly to Arizona to play a couple innings in a non-counter? It’s a pretty easy choice. If Jeter, or any player, doesn’t want to play in the All-Star Game, there are plenty of players more than thrilled to step in and take part.

Seattle Mariners rookie Michael Pineda was asked if he ever expected to be an All-Star at age 22: “No,” he said, laughing. “It’s wild. To play in the All-Star Game is unbelievable. I’m very excited to be here. This is a big day for me.”

Pittsburgh Pirates veteran Kevin Correia, selected to his first All-Star Game at age 30, said he suffered through several sleepless nights after being told he was first in line to nab a spot if another pitcher opted out.

“It was a relief (when I finally found out),” said Correia, 11-7 with a 4.01 ERA. “It was just a goal that I wanted to accomplish in my career at some point. To finally get to experience something like this is definitely going to be something I’m going to look back on as a highlight in my career.”

And Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero (pictured), 7-8 with a 3.09 ERA, was positively giddy about being chosen as a replacement.

“I’m just trying to soak everything in,” Romero said. “I’m living the dream.”

Romero spoke about his rise from the baseball fields of East Los Angeles and the importance of representing his hometown. At breakfast Monday morning, his mother told him how family and friends back in California were sharing in his excitement.

“Everyone who watched me grow up and watched me play, they saw how hard I worked and everything I put into it,” Romero said. “It just shows that anyone can make it out of there. It shows little kids that if you work hard you can do anything.”

And if the All-Star Game becomes a regular occurrence for Romero, would he ever consider skipping the festivities and using the break to rest?

“I would never miss this for the world,” he said, beaming. “For me, it’s exciting, and I don’t think I could ever get tired of it. The more, the better.”

One of the best things about baseball’s All-Star Game, what separates it from the others of its kind, is that the players give their all on the field from start to finish. There is no coasting on defense, no taking it slow to avoid injury, no grooving pitches down the middle just to get some work in.

If you start pressuring players to compete who might not be 100 percent healthy you might lose some of that quality of play. And in the end, a pennant race is far more important than an exhibition game.

“I think it’s a personal decision,” said Braves catcher Brian McCann, who will play in his sixth All-Star Game, his first as a starter. “Derek has been an ambassador to this game. He’s been nothing but great. I’m not into nit-picking. He’s here every year. He gives his time, and he does everything by the book. He just got back from the DL, I don’t blame him at all. They’re trying to win the World Series.”

But would a healthy McCann ever turn down an All-Star appearance?

“Never. I always want to be a part of this.”

To each his own.

Latest Posts
  1. Cliff Lee scheduled to make spring debut next Thursday

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EST

    Cliff Lee AP AP

    It will be his first game action since last July 31.

  2. Rangers shut down Edgar Olmos due to shoulder impingement

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:04 PM EST

    Edgar Olmos Edgar Olmos

    The Rangers will shut down Edgar Olmos days after picking him up on a waiver claim from the Mariners.

  3. Eury Perez is early favorite to replace Melvin Upton in center field

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EST

    Eury Perez Eury Perez

    Eury Perez is the early favorite to take over in center field while Melvin Upton recovers from a foot injury.

  4. Paul Molitor to implement limit on electronics use in Twins’ clubhouse

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:05 PM EST

    Paul Molitor Paul Molitor

    New Twins manager Paul Molitor cracked down on electronics usage in his first address to the full squad at spring training.

  5. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Ryan Howard is in the best shape “since I’ve known him”

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:10 PM EST

    Ryan Howard Ryan Howard

    Ryan Howard had his first full healthy season since 2011 and both GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and guest instructor Dan Plesac thought he looked like he was in very good shape.

  6. Blue Jays, Athletics talking to Dayan Viciedo

    Feb 27, 2015, 8:20 PM EST

    viciedo getty Getty Images

    Two more suitors enter the Dayan Viciedo sweepstakes.

  7. Michael Saunders to miss 5-6 weeks after surgery to remove meniscus in his left knee

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Michael Saunders Michael Saunders

    Michael Saunders will return to the Blue Jays a lot sooner than anticipated.

  8. Athletics claim Alex Hassan off waivers from the Orioles

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

    Alex Hassan Getty Images

    For the second time this offseason, the Athletics have claimed Alex Hassan off waivers.

  9. Orioles to give Chris Davis some playing time in right field during the spring

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:36 PM EST

    Chris Davis Chris Davis

    Chris Davis will get some work in the outfield this spring. He hasn’t played there since 2012.

  10. MLBPA will be monitoring how Cubs handle Kris Bryant

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

    Kris Bryant Kris Bryant

    MLBPA executive director Tony Clark will be keeping a close eye on how the Cubs handle the eventual promotion of prospect Kris Bryant.

  11. The Pittsburgh Pirates issued a statement about “Jihadi John” wearing their cap

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:51 PM EST

    pirates logo

    Note: they’re not fans of this particular bit of product placement.

  12. Derek Lowe is talking to the Red Sox about a coaching job

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:35 PM EST

    Derek Lowe Red Sox AP

    Lowe pitched for the Red Sox from 1997-2004.

  13. Juan Pierre officially announces his retirement

    Feb 27, 2015, 1:06 PM EST

    Juan Pierre Getty Getty Images

    Pierre was a singles-hitting, base-stealing machine.

  14. Johan Santana’s deal with the Blue Jays has an April 28 opt-out clause

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:19 AM EST

    johan santana getty Getty Images

    If he’s called up to the majors Santana will get $2.5 million in guaranteed money.

  15. Aramis Ramirez says 2015 will be his last year

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

    Aramis Ramirez Getty Images

    When he’s done he’ll have played 18 years in the bigs and will be pushing 400 homers.

  16. Royals are only looking at Joe Blanton as a reliever

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EST

    Joe Blanton AP

    “The only way he is really going to help us is in the bullpen.”

  17. Bartolo Colon may be the Mets’ Opening Day starter

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:35 AM EST

    Bartolo Colon

    Yes, this is mostly just an excuse to post a picture of Bartolo Colon

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4555)
  2. Y. Moncada (3764)
  3. F. Rodriguez (3630)
  4. Z. Greinke (3308)
  5. M. Harvey (2905)
  1. E. Cabrera (2869)
  2. A. Wainwright (2500)
  3. A. Gordon (2486)
  4. A. Beltre (2434)
  5. J. Santana (2298)