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Well, I suppose the bright side is that I know people are reading:


"It was my understanding that Girardi is an All-Star replacing Piazza
b/c 1) Hundley turned them down due to family concerns & 2) Javy Lopez had
already skipped the country on his vacation plans. Girardi was just the
best of a bad remaining lot."

"I read two days ago (I believe it was on
Rotonews) that Todd Hundley
had refused the All-Star assignment because of a nagging injury..."

"One note on your Daily Prospectus item for today: Hundley actually
was invited before Girardi, but declined due to a sore shoulder and bruised
forearm...."

"I'm probably not the only one to tell you this, but Hundley was, of
course, MLB's first choice..."

"Just an FYI, Joe Girardi was selected primarily because Javy Lopez
and Todd Hundley were unavailable for the weekend."

"Articles I have read reported that Hundley turned down an All-Star
roster spot offer from Cox..."

Etc., etc., etc….

We’ll call this one "E-DP." It’s reassuring to note that the
National League chose wisely but was denied the best option. It doesn’t
explain going down the list to the middle of the pack in NL catchers,
especially when the team already had two, the rules allow catchers to
return to the game and Kris Benson still had Tuesday free.

In the big picture, it doesn’t matter much. Plus, I got to test the
column’s emergency response system, so everyone wins. Well, except the
National League, which dropped a 6-3 decision to the AL last night in the
latest in a string of nondescript All-Star games.

I don’t want to sound crotchety, but I can’t remember the last riveting
All-Star Game. Maybe it’s that I’m getting older, or maybe it’s living on
the West Coast and missing the start of them for too long. The first game I
remember vividly was the 1979 game, with Dave Parker throwing out a
runner at the plate, Lee Mazzilli hitting a tying home run and the
NL ekeing out a 7-6 win on Mazzilli’s ninth-inning walk. The post-strike
game in 1981 in which Gary Carter hit two bombs sticks in my head as
well, as does the 13-inning game in 1987.

But while the games since then have had some fun moments, the games
themselves have been bland. Even in the eighth inning of tonight’s contest,
with the AL clinging to a one-run lead, there was no sense of excitement or
drama. The biggest question seemed to be whether Joe Torre was going to run
his bench and bullpen or hold someone back for extra innings. It seems like
somewhere along the line the balance between "getting everyone in&quot
and "winning the game" shifted, with the former assuming a much
greater importance.

I’m not saying that this is good, bad or indifferent. I am saying that I
personally don’t find the All-Star Game to be as exciting as I used to, and
that saddens me.

Even with this sense that the competitive nature of the game has been
diminished, I greatly enjoyed the night’s highlights. Andres
Galarraga
, of course, was a great story, and watching Chipper
Jones
go deep in front of the home fans was a nice moment. As a Yankee
fan, watching Derek Jeter rope three hits and pick up MVP honors was
sweet. Jim Edmonds made a nice recovery after getting turned around
on Mike Bordick‘s blast in the third.

With the exhibition out of the way, we’re free to look again at the real
games. Today, we’ve posted
BP’s midseason awards poll results.
There’s an unnatural level of agreement for this point in the season, attributable to
some tremendous performances by the best players in the game.

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.