Updating a previous item, Major League Baseball has released a map with the locations of all the baseball-themed Statues of Liberty currently dotting the city. The map is available here as a PDF. Happy hunting.
When the All Stars take the field at Yankee Stadium three weeks from tomorrow night, we’ll be able to count more than a few Yankees among them. Deservedly or not, Derek Jeter finds himself the top AL vote-getter; A-Rod has a lock on his position; David Ortiz’s injury should push Hideki Matsui into the lineup.
While a few Yankees — Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi come to mind — are so far getting the shaft on the popular vote front, those two should find themselves selected by the players and coaches. Meanwhile, the Yanks will see some All Star representation on the mound as well. I can’t say enough about Mariano Rivera’s incredible season. His numbers are just off the charts this year, and Mo deserves what will be the ninth All Star game appearance of his career. I believe Mike Mussina, 10-5 with a 3.93 ERA, will find himself aboard the All Star squad as well.
There’s one more Yankee pitcher who could get All Star consideration too. A loyal reader Nick tipped me off to this idea: Joba Chamberlain, All Star. Joba right now suffers because he doesn’t have the wins; his lone victory came in relief. But it’s hard to argue with his numbers otherwise.
As a reliever, he threw 23.2 innings to the tune of a 2.28 ERA. He struck out 30 while walking 11 and opponents hit .190/.284/.274 off Joba the reliever. As a starter, he’s thrown 18.1 innings while making his transition, and his ERA stands at 2.45. He’s struck out 19, and while the 12 walks are too many, opponents are batting just .239/.354/.328 off Joba the starter. Not too shabby, eh?
So here’s my question for us to debate while the Yankees enjoy their off day tonight: It’s hard to believe that there are too many hurlers in the AL who would be better choices than Joba considering the nature of the game, and it’s pretty easy to argue that he deserves to make it on his merits. The only knock — and it’s a weak one — is his win total, but if he has a few more stellar starts as he has the last few weeks, the case for Joba becomes even more compelling. So if you were in charge of the All Star Game, would pick Joba Chamberlain as one of your pitchers?
Derek Jeter is the American League’s leading All Star vote-getter right now. In the latest voting results, Jeter’s tally comes in at 1,988,251 votes, a few thousand more than David Ortiz. Imagine how Jeter would be doing if he weren’t hitting .279/.336/.379 with 9 double plays.
In other All Star news, Joe Mauer has rightfully moved past Jason Varitek, and Ian Kinsler now finds himself just 160,000 votes behind Dustin Pedroia. I really think Yankee fans should stop voting for Robinson Cano and start supporting Kinsler. It’s the only way to unseat Pedroia. Youkilis leads at first with Giambi in third, 600,000 votes behind.
Back in 2000, as part of a charity auction, cows decorated by people from all over adorned the streets of New York as part of the Cow Parade. This year, with the All Star Game in town, MLB is releasing its own version of the cow parade: baseball-themed replicas of the Statue of Liberty.
Throughout the city starting today, observant New Yorkers can find 42 different Statues celebrating the 30 teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and various other New York City baseball related designs.
I like this idea. While it’s clearly a bit gimmicky, it’s a nice way of honoring the city while marketing baseball, and if it’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that baseball needs to find a few feel-good marketing campaigns to run. Much like they did with the cows, fans will hunt down these statues for photo ops, and the casual person happening upon one of these statues will stop and notice it.
Per the press release, find the statues here, among other places:
|All-Star Game||MLB, 245 Park Avenue|
|American League||Statue of Liberty|
|National League||Ellis Island|
|Brooklyn Dodgers||Topps, One Whitehall Street|
|New York Giants||Toys “R” Us, Times Square,1514 Broadway|
|New York Mets||Penn Station, 2 Penn Plaza|
|Yankee Stadium tribute||Yankee Stadium|
|Atlanta Braves||World Financial Center Plaza|
|Boston Red Sox||Sports Museum of America, 26 Broadway|
|Chicago Cubs||20 Broad Street, near N.Y. Stock Exchange|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||888 7th Avenue, near Carnegie Hall|
|St. Louis Cardinals||1290 Ave. of the Americas, near Radio City|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Champs, 5 Times Square|
Personally, I can’t stand the idea that the All Star Game counts for something. The game itself is nothing more than a glorified exhibition contest designed to showcase some of the best talent around while celebrating the game. The voting is nothing more than a popularity contest.
So every year, when the voting comes around, it’s a bit laughable when the true All Stars aren’t the ones getting the vote. What makes this year’s voting more ironic — at least from the Yankee/Red Sox perspective — is that the fans of the Red Sox, the AL’s front-runners right now, are voting for their own players when it would behoove their chances for that home field advantage in the World Series to vote for the Yankees (and a few non-Yankees). I wonder if Boston fans can handle that cognitive dissonance.
Let’s take a look at the most recent voting results, starting with the first basemen.
I don’t particularly have warm and fuzzy feelings for the Red Sox. I find their fans to be annoying beyond belief, and some of their players – Curt, I’m lookin’ at you – are insufferable. But this whole David Ortiz Home Run Derby flap is fairly absurd. The Yanks don’t want Ortiz to call his shot because it somehow desecrates the sacredness of a stadium the team plans to unceremoniously tear down in five months.
The team officials in Jack Curry’s article come off as whiny, and it won’t kill anyone to allow this promotion to happen as much as we dislike the Sox. A supposed cursed jersey is one thing; bemoaning a gimick during MLB’s week of All Star unity is another.
Via PeteAbe comes some news on All Star Game coaches. Terry Francona, the AL manager, has invited Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi to join him on the All Star Game coaching staff. That’s a nice gesture for Francona, but I have to believe some external pressure may have been applied here. Sadly, Clint Hurdle did not ask Joe Torre to join him in the NL dugout. Despite the acrimonious divorce last fall, Torre deserves to be in uniform in the Bronx for this game. It’s a shame he won’t be.