In an effort to spice up the All-Star break, Bret comes up with a new event'and puts two of the game's brightest young stars to the test.
There is a certain reverence that people who grew up watching the All-Star Games of yore hold, and somewhere between interleague play and the "This Time It Counts" campaign, it's begun to drift away. But instead of trying to fix the game, which is still both very popular and important to growing the brand of baseball both at home and abroad, itself, a different approach may be to surround the game with a more entertaining product. After all, how often do you get such a large representation of the game's collective star power together in one spot?
As it stands now, All-Star Weekend has essentially morphed into a representation of Justin Smoak's career (minus the recent resurgence, if you choose to even call it that). Everything is great on the minor-league side, as the Futures Game is one of the best additions that baseball has made in the last half-century. However, on the major-league side, it's more about lost opportunity. The Home Run Derby, while it is still fun in moderation, has almost become a caricature of itself and lasts nearly an hour too long. Beyond that, there’s not a single event that uses the crop of current All-Stars.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Jason looks at the worst players, by career WARP, to make multiple trips to the All-Star Game.
Last week, we looked at players who racked up large career WARP figures but for one reason or another (underappreciation, the league being incredibly stocked at their position, steady goodness rather than flashes of greatness) didn't make very many All-Star teams. This week, having sufficiently buried the lede, it's time to look at the players who inspired this investigation in the first place: the very worst players to make multiple All-Star Games. Caveats and notes:
A recap of the first half's best, worst, and most exciting games.
Today is the stupidest day of the year (and you’re not far behind, tomorrow, so stop looking so smug). The Wednesday after the All-Star Game is the one day on the calendar without any major sports, which makes it extremely stupid. I’m more concerned with the utter lack of baseball games (save your Triple-A All-Star Game, people), and this year is even worse as the break has been extended through Thursday.
I am torn on this change. Usually there are six or seven games on Thursday, which is entirely unfair to the teams who have to play while others get another day of rest. Selfishly, I was always glad to see baseball return, but how was that not an all-or-nothing day? They landed on the side of nothing, so we’re stuck with two baseball-free days. This is like giving Jesse Pinkman a wheelbarrow full of meth for nearly three months and then none for two days. This isn’t going down from wheelbarrow to radio flyer red wagon to a bucket full to a handful; it’s going from wheelbarrow to zero.
A look at some of the most underrated baseball films in cinematic history.
1) Bad Lieutenant Bad Lieutenant is Harvey Keitel at his most intense. He's a drunk, a drug addict, a degenerate gambler, an unfaithful man, a sadist, and in every way among the worst human beings ever portrayed on film. He has countless enemies, from drug dealers to rapists to bookies he owes money to, but there is one that bothers him most of all. That person is Daryl Strawberry. Among the biggest of many weights dragging down on Keitel is his gambling debt, which he tries to eliminate by constantly going double-or-nothing on a fictional playoff series between the Mets and the Dodgers. After the Dodgers win the first three games of the series, Keitel continuously bets on the Dodgers to put the series away, and time and time again it's Strawberry, who in real life joined the Dodgers in 1991, who ruins his game and ultimately his bet. I've always wondered if Strawberry has seen the movie, as Keitel (his character's name is never revealed) rampages against him in ways that seem far more personal than any crowd simply chanting DAAAAA-RYL. It would disturb me. Hell, it would disturb anyone. —Kevin Goldstein
2) The Fan The Fan is a delightfully creepy movie which features Wesley Snipes as a baseball player (how original!) and Robert DeNiro as a really angry, creepy guy (also very original!) named Gil. Snipes plays an outfielder named Bobby Rayburn who signs a big contract to join the San Francisco Giants and soon becomes DeNiro’s obsession. DeNiro quickly becomes the Pedro Gomez to Snipes’s Barry Bonds in San Francisco, tracking his every move on and off the field from a distance. I’m somewhat surprised that this movie isn’t listed among the pantheon of baseball cinematic classics, considering it has some of the best scenes in cinematic history. These include, but are not limited to: Gil killing another player on the Giants because he wouldn’t give Rayburn his lucky number, Gil kidnapping Rayburn’s son and then killing a man with an aluminum bat for helping the child escape, and at one point someone yells “HE’S CALLING FROM INSIDE THE STADIUM!” which is just wonderful.
Who makes the Hall of Fame cut when faced against the Keltner Test and JAWS?
On Friday, I unveiled the catcher and infielders on what I'm calling the Keltner All-Stars, the best eligible player at each position outside the Hall of Fame. The name comes from former Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, who inspired Bill James' Keltner Test, a set of 15 questions that can be used to frame a player’s Hall of Fame case. The basis of my choices isn't that test. Instead, I'm using JAWS.
Tim Raines has his case re-examined, and the remainder of the Hall ballot gets a look.
We all have our pet projects. With the graduations of Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo to the Hall of Fame, mine is now Tim Raines. During his 23-year major-league career, Raines combined the virtues of a keen batting eye, dazzling speed, and all-around athleticism with a cerebral approach that made him an electrifying performer and a dangerous offensive weapon. Yet in four years on the ballot, he's reached just 37.5 percent of the vote, exactly half of what he needs to reach Cooperstown.
Only one middle infielder passes the revamped JAWS' standards for Hall of Fame induction.
The past year has been a great one for JAWS, the Hall of Fame evaluation system whose creation marked my first contribution to Baseball Prospectus back in 2004 (I didn't name it until the next go-round). In 2011, two overly qualified candidates for whom I've advocated for the better part of a decade were finally elected. In January, Bert Blylevenreceived 79.7 percentof the Baseball Writers of America vote, becoming the first player ever to gain entry on his 14th ballot. In December, the late Ron Santoreceived 93.8 percent of the vote from the Golden Era committee, a bittersweet result given his passing just a year ago but a vindication of what we've known here for years, that he too was worthy of a bronze plaque.