Golden Gate All-Stars

For the first time since 2002 the Arizona Diamondbacks are represented by more than one player at the All-Star game. For the past few years Arizona has been one of those teams who fell into the “every team must have a representative” scenarios. It was not that there was not talent on these teams it was just that there wasn’t more than one player who was having a stellar or break-out season that warranted inclusion on the all-star team. This year that has changed and hopefully the trend of seeing multiple representatives from the Diamondbacks will become more of the rule rather than the exception. But like anything else, we are never content with what we have and always question why we didn’t get more.

This year Arizona sent infielder and unofficial team captain Orlando Hudson to his first all-star game. Having O-Dog represent the team is definitely a natural. He basically carried the team the first month of the season and after cooling off a bit at the plate he still is hitting near .300 and is at the top of nearly every offensive category for the team. His personality is infectious and the only thing faster than his glove may be his mouth. I’ve come to the conclusion that Hudson is like a shark. They say a shark must stay in motion or they will die. I think Orlando’s mouth has a similar requirement as it never stops. It doesn’t seem to matter who he talks to either. During a game you can see him talking to teammates, opposing players, fans, even the umpires. He is just always talking. Given all that he has done for the Diamondbacks during his brief tenure here he is more than deserving of his inclusion on the team.

Diamondbacks closer Jose Valverde is also a first-time all-star. He is near the league lead in saves and during stretches of the first half he has been dominating. For much of this season he has battled Chad Cordero of the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League saves lead. This is an amazing feat considering last year at this time he saw himself in Tucson being sent to the minor leagues to try and recover from a confidence meltdown that affected his pitching and his control. Papa Grande is becoming a fan favorite and he has been very receptive to the fans stopping before every ball game and signing autographs as he makes his way down to the bullpen.

The third member of the Diamondbacks to be recognized as an all-star was starting pitcher and reigning Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb. Webb took a circuitous path to the all-star game. He was initially a candidate for inclusion by the manager but Tony LaRussa instead opted to go with another reliever and selected Colorado Rockies closer Brian Fuentes. Webb was then placed on the ballot for selection of the last member of the roster. The fans were asked to vote for whom they felt deserved the 32nd roster spot. Webb again lost out when San Diego Padre pitcher Chris Young was voted in. An injury to Brian Fuentes opened up a spot and LaRussa immediately called Webb to ask if he would be available. Webb graciously agreed and changed his plans of a family vacation in San Diego so that he could represent the team in San Francisco.

Even with all the excitement for these three deserving players there was one who every Diamondbacks fan felt deserved to be in uniform at the 78th all-star game. Eric Byrnes has done everything asked of him this season and is leading the team in batting average, home runs, and RBI. He has also spent time playing all three outfield positions making him one of the most versatile players that the Diamondbacks have. The lack of hometown votes led to Byrnes being left off the National League roster. It would have been a great story had he been included. Byrnes is from the bay area so he would have been a first-time all-star in his home town playing in front of family and friends. That storyline was left on the cutting room floor as Eric Byrnes spends time away from the game during this break. That is not to say Eric won’t be at the all-star game. It was announced that Fox Sports will have Byrnes working as part of their announcing team. Not interviewing his peers down on the field but rather interviewing the crazy fans who congregate in McCovey Cove. Eric along with his trusty dog Bruin will be in a kayak hanging out on the bay hoping to catch a home run ball. That just might be more entertaining than the game.

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