Billy Butler was chosen as a Royals representative in the 2012 All-Star Game taking place next week. There was a clip shown before and during the game today where an emotional Ned Yost announced that Billy would be suiting up for the American League.
It’s a great clip and I, for one, am thankful that Billy got the nod. Jonathan Broxton is another Royal who is eligible for the fan vote, which is another matter altogether that I’m not going to delve much into. I’m not a huge fan of Broxton based on the multitude of times he’s had me in cardiac arrest throughout this season, but I’ll support him based on the fact that I’d be okay if there was more than one Royal on the team.
This isn’t a post about Billy, though. It’s a post about a year when our All-Star representative was less than desirable. It’s a post about whether or not every team should have an All-Star.
In 2006 the Royals were 31-56 at the All-Star Break after having started the year winning 13 games in the months of April and May….combined. They were on their way to another 100-loss season. Brutal memories.* As the game drew near, All-Star possibilities loomed for all teams, but hung a little different in Kansas City. It wasn’t a matter of choosing who our multiple all-stars were. It was a matter of deciding who the heck on our team even DESERVED to go.
*Revisiting hurts more than I’d expected.
This is disheartening. The only positive things Redman could have had going for him was the fact that he’d won more than he’d lost and he was a left-hander. I remember being embarrassed by the fact that he was our All-Star. He never got a sniff of the game.
The real question to ask is whether or not there was a better option.
The answer is….maybe. Did we have better players on that team? I think so. But considering the positions those players filled, there really wasn’t a good choice to make.
One might make a case for Mark Grudzielanek, who was having a decent year at second base. He was batting .291 with 22 doubles at the break. In fact, I think Grudzielanek should have been on the squad over the Mariners’ Jose Lopez who was selected due to an injury to Robinson Cano. Grudzy had slightly better numbers and the Mariners already had an All-Star starter in Ichiro. Whatever, I guess.
Other than that, we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. There were two Royals pitchers with E.R.A.’s under 4.00. Mike MacDougal, who pitched four innings during the entire season and Adam Bernero who pitched thirteen innings during that same period of time.
No other position players really came close to making a case for the game.
So I guess I’ve decided that Grudzielanek got hosed. Which is actually a more positive conclusion than the one I’d planned on. I was going to argue that there wasn’t a Royal deserving of playing in the game. Now, I haven’t done the research to know whether there was another second-baseman out there who was having a better year than Grudzy. There could have been. I just know he was having a better year than Lopez.
Should there be a representative from each team? I’m sure the answer would and should be yes for most fans, but most fans haven’t dealt with the years we’ve dealt with. It’s hard to look at a couple of our rosters from the past ten years and see a definitive all-star.
All-in-all, I’m glad Butler’s going to be ours this year. He’s deserving and is the face of our team in a year where Kansas City will be center stage for the Midsummer Classic.