Because that's what this is coming down to. Perusing the internet on Saturday, I saw this headline - "7 players named as injury replacements...including Kevin Correia".
(Also, I'm sorry to break up all the Women's World Cup talk on MAMBINO. Hope no one's feelings are hurt. Don't worry everyone - BockerKnocker's been dealt with)
Look, I'm not just a guy with a calicified heart that doesn't feel feelings. To clarify, I definitely AM that guy, for sure, 100%, but I'm also a guy that can appreciate a nice, heartfelt story. I'm glad that Ryan Vogelsong (2.17 ERA, 6-1 for the Giants) is on the All-Star team after almost being out of baseball last year. Jose Bautista is throwing all of that "fluke" talk in our faces, knocked out 31 homers and tallied the most votes in All-Star game history.
Kevin Correia has a 4.01 ERA, an 11-7 record and gave up 5 runs in 3 innings in his last start. Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has more strikeouts (72) than Correia (59) in a third of his innings. I've seen Kevin Correia pitch this year. He is terrible. I eat pieces of shit like Kevin Correia for breakfast.
Kevin here was the last of the latest round of MLB All-Star game injury replacements. The game this year features 16 replacement players, and a record 84 total All-Stars, surpassing the previous year's record of 82 total All-Stars. Not only that, but so far there have been injury replacements for the injury replacements. If this sounds stupid, it's because it is.
Please wrap your mind around that. There are 84 total All-Stars. 750 players are on active rosters. You're telling me 11% of those guys are the best in the league? How exclusive of a club is that? Less guys get World Series rings, Stanley Cup rings and NBA Championship rings combined. In comparison, 31 guys made the NBA All-Star team last year, with one injury replacement (for Yao of course, may he rest in peace). That amounts for 6% of the league. That's a pretty hard little group to crack there. If you doubled that number, you really aren't getting the elite guys anymore, are you?
Getting back to the replacement talk, I heard Bobby Valentine riffing on this during Sunday Night Baseball, and I think it bears repeating. I understand that some players get elected to the team, get hurt and then can't compete. Shane Victorino for example, went on the DL the very same day he was selected for the NL squad, so he is not in Arizona. Alex Rodriguez had surgery on his knee on Sunday, so he didn't start, as voted by the fans. These are all legitimate claims.
What I'm not clear on is why the players are able to elect to NOT play in the games and the MLB allows it, all in the face of MLB's publicity explosion in the form of All-Star voting. For the last two months, no baseball game was safe from All-Star logos flying at my face (there goes your social life) and everyone from Tommy Lasorda to Joe Buck telling me to support my team and vote for them to start in the All-Star game (I always think it's strange how hard they push All-Star voting in the third week of April when guys have really only had 15 games under their belts. If I voted based on that, Mark Texeira would never be an All-Star. Oh, ba-zing! Burned him good!). However, after this publicity avalanche, the guys that they pushed so hard for me to vote for (in fact, they allow you to vote 100 times per e-mail address), they give the guy a free pass if he's facing "physical and emotional exhaustion". In fact, they give free passes to guys that were well enough to play 9 innings on Sunday, but aren't well enough to get an AB or even show up in Arizona.
Look, I understand part of it. These guys are million dollar investments. In Mariano's case, he's a $45 million dollar investment just on his contract, let alone whatever value your franchise loses if he gets hurt. The All-Star game is a exhibition, and despite what anyone has said, doesn't actually count for anything (the winning league of the game gets home-field advantage in that year's World Series, but in baseball, home field advantage doesn't really mean much; in the 8 years that this rule has been instituted, there hasn't been a deciding game 7, only 5 teams with home field advantage have won, and 7 teams have finished the series on the road).
But if the league is going to push so hard and telling the fans that their votes matter, and that the game itself matters, why are they letting so many guys off the hook? Don't tell me how important my vote and the game is it's not important enough for 1/3 of the guys selected for the teams are not required to play, many for reasons that wouldn't keep them out of a regular season game in June.
Also, baseball players are little girls. Toughen up gentlemen. This isn't ballet.