Hey Now You’re an All-Star

As a kid growing up I played a lot of organized baseball. That may be the understatement of the year as I was constantly on one team or another playing ball. Like most places we had a tryout where all the kids would go through various drills of hitting, throwing, and fielding. On the sidelines would be all of the coaches from the league. They each had a clipboard where they marked and evaluated each kid’s skills. Once the tryout was over the coaches would congregate and assess their team’s needs. From there they would hold a draft and select players. Not everyone who tried out made the team. That was just a given. If you were fortunate enough to make the team you received a phone call from the coach and given instructions of when practice would be and what you needed to bring.

Practices were sometimes grueling as the coaches tried to instill the knowledge necessary to be successful at that particular level of the game. Through dedication and hard work the coaches hoped to maximize the talent the child had and turn them into baseball players. After several practices the team began to meld together and work as a cohesive unit. The youth baseball season normally lasted from April through the end of June. We would play each team numerous times and there usually was one team or another who seemed more dominant. This team would win the regular season and be crowned league champions.

At the conclusion of the regular season the coaches for the league champions would be named manager of the league all-star team. The manager along with his coaches would get together and select representatives from each of the teams to form an all-star team to represent the league in a tournament. It was always a special honor to be chosen to the all-star team. It meant that you were being recognized not only for your talent but for your hard work and dedication to the game. Being chosen to be on the all-star team was not a burden or something to mock. It was a chance to play a few more games and get to know your fellow all-stars who you had played against all season but were now teammates. It gave you a chance to represent your league and show the other teams why you felt that your league was the best.

To a certain extent it is the same with Major League Baseball. The players named to the all-star team represent their league and should be those players who are the best at their position. The difference of course is that MLB allows the fans an opportunity to vote on who should be on the all-star team. That would be the equivalent of having the parents select who would be on the Little League all-star team. There would be a definite bias to their selections. This has never been truer than this year. When the voting results were released there is definitely a bias towards certain teams. In the National League there were numerous Chicago Cubs being named to the all-star team which in the American League the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have more representatives than any other teams.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are fairly represented this year by two deserving players. Right handed pitchers Brandon Webb and Dan Haren will make the trip to New York City to play the final all-star game in Yankee Stadium. Both Webb and Haren made the all-star team last year as well. Haren was the starting pitcher for the American League while with the Oakland Athletics. For Webb this will be the third consecutive year he has been named to the National League all-star team. Earlier this season I thought the Diamondbacks would have representation from a position player as well as the pitching staff but this last two months and the failure by the offense to score dashed those hopes. Both Haren and Webb will no doubt make Diamondbacks fans proud and each of them have the stats necessary to be named the starter for the NL when they take the field. Congratulations to both of these great players. We look forward to seeing you in New York.

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