Over the holiday weekend, the All-Star teams were announced. You know this. You also know that for the first time in nearly 1,000 years, the Royals put more than one player on the team.
It's always fun to speculate: Who will the Royals get in the All-Star Game? Honestly, I can't remember the last time it was a big deal to me. Certainly, I paid more attention to the selection of Billy Butler last year than I had in year's past but that was only because the game was in Kansas City for the first time in nearly 40 years. This year? I'm back to caring my normal amount for the All-Star Game. Which means I don't pay much attention to it.
That doesn't mean it isn't cool that Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez got the nod to backup the starters for the AL.
We've all been on the Gordon (A1!) bandwagon for awhile. He was deserving of a selection in 2011, but a slow start to 2012 doomed his opportunity to play in KC. This year, he's hitting .290/.358/.432 with a .343 wOBA that ranks sixth among qualified outfielders. The players don't always get things right (see Hunter, Torii) but in this case, they did.
Last month, I was asked who I thought would be picked to play in the game. I named pitchers. Probably because that always seemed to be the choice for the last several years. And because Ervin Santana and James Shields have both pitched well enough to get on the team. (More on Greg Holland in a moment.) I also named Salvador Perez as a candidate. My theory was they were certainly going to pick three catchers and Perez has been hovering around as the third or fourth best catcher in the AL for entire season.
Perez was another player selection and has clearly impressed the league with his defensive work behind the plate. If they were going to go solely on the bat, Carlos Santana would have gotten on the roster. Again, it's cool to see players from around the league respect a player like Perez and give him the honor to play in the game. Of anyone on the current roster, I give Perez the best chance for multiple All-Star selections in the future.
So this was the first time in 10 years the Royals put two on the AL All-Star team. Of course, the last time they put two on the team should come with an asterisk. Mike Sweeney was selected, but injured. And Mike MacDougal didn't get in the game. The last time two Royals actually played in a game was in 2000 when Jermaine Dye was voted in as a starter in right field and Sweeney got a plate appearance as a pinch hitter.
The funny thing is, the Royals could have gotten a third player in the game this year. The snub of Holland is pretty glaring. Especially so after manager Jim Leyland stacked his final fan ballot with five middle relief pitchers. (Uehara and Benoit are closers now, but that's not the role they've played for the majority of the season.) And maybe this is why I can't get into the All-Star Game. Yeah, there are always going to be omissions and snubs. That's part of the process. But then there is always something stupid to make you wonder what in the world is happening.
There are still a few days left, so there's time for players to drop out. Maybe Holland is a late addition to the roster. You'd have to think that after all the issues Leyland has had with his bullpen, he would recognize the value of a guy with a 15.4 SO/9, a fastball that lives in the upper 90s, a filthy slider and an endless supply of ice water in his veins. You would think.
Maybe next year.