The most curious part of Wednesday night's 3-1 All-Star Game victory by the National League involved the New York Yankees, of course. So, AL and Yankee manager Joe Girardi, where were Alex Rodriguez and his 597 career home runs in the 9th inning?
Asked for a particular reason he did not put Rodriguez in the game, Girardi said there was no injury-related concern with A-Rod, but rather with Beltre's left hamstring, which nearly prompted the Rangers' Michael Young to be added Monday as a replacement.
"We were talking about pinch-running [Rodriguez] in a situation," Girardi said. "We also had a little issue with Beltre and we were concerned about his hamstring, so if we get the tying run on, Al was going to pinch-run and then go in [to play third base]."
Huh? Say, what, Joe? You're going to use the greatest active home run hitter in the game as a pinch-runner for Beltre? You're not going to send him up to hit for the overmatched Boston third baseman in the 9th inning when a home run ties the game?
If your thought was simply that A-Rod wasn't playing no matter what because you wanted to rest him for the second half of the Yankee season I can understand that, and as a Yankee fan I can't have a huge problem with it.
But, this is why I have a huge problem with Bud Selig's whole 'The All-Star Game determines home-field advantage in the World Series' thing.
As SI.com's Tom Verducci pointed out, Girardi and NL Manager Charlie Manuel certainly did not manage that way. A little from Verducci:
Baseball has sold you the idea that the All-Star Game is meaningful because the winning league gets homefield advantange for the World Series, an idea I have liked. But as long as managers keep running the game as if it's a church picnic softball game, the idea that the game "counts" is a farce.
The game hit a new low Tuesday night with game management shenanigans -- worse than the tie in Milwaukee, because that game had nothing attached to it. Baseball keeps gerrymandering the rules of the game (somehow the first 72 All-Star Games came off just fine with normal rules), by adding roster spots, inserting a reentry rule, adding special rules for catchers and replacing any starting pitcher who pitched two days earlier. And yet the game becomes even more of a farce.
Rodriguez, by the way, at least sounded like he expected to play.
"I'm happy for Beltre," Rodriguez said. "He got some playing time, and Wigginton. We have four guys out there. I think sitting out there for three hours, Joe probably decided it was best -- unless he really needed me -- not to use me."
"I started to get ready in the sixth, I don't know what else to tell you," Rodriguez said. "You must have wanted me to hit. It would have been fun, but maybe next time."
Again, this is why I hate the whole 'This Game counts' nonsense. The priority for managers is still to get guys in the game -- or often to protect certain players, especially their own guys, who could benefit from a rest. This is still an exhibition game. Why else would you replace Joe Mauer with John Buck? Why else would Albert Pujols be the first National League player out of the game? Why else would you have no one left in the 9th inning to pinch-run for David Ortiz?
In a way, it was nice to see the National League finally win a game after 13 seasons of futility. The way it went down, though, and the fact that it actually ends up determining World Series home field, annoy me.
Coming Up Today
- The New Jersey Nets are hosting a press conference this afternoon to introduce the four free agents they have recently signed. SB Nation New York's Rodger Sherman will be there, so look for his impressions later on. By the way, it looks like Billy King is the front-runner for the New Jersey GM job.
- The New York Red Bulls still are not admitting that superstar Thierry Henry will be joining them. Maybe today they will tell us what everyone already seems to know.