The A-Train Rant – MLB All Star Edition

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This A-Train rant is devoted to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game…

  1. It’s nothing but a popularity contest.
  2. The deserving players hardly ever get selected. It’s so bad that some athletes have decided to try and get fans to vote for them with tactics such as this one from Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
  3. Since the game is televised (I care less about the radio broadcast), the different leagues SHOULD look for SUPERSTARS for big-time ratings. Of course, they don’t deliver.
  4. Most fans of the all-star game know NOTHING about the participants.
  5. These games are just an exhibition and shouldn’t be taken seriously by fans. The players may play for pride/trash talk. Bud Selig decided to make the game serious because of a damn tie.
  6. MLB should learn the NHL’s approach for all-star games where the players have the most say for selections…sadly the NHL yields the lowest ratings of the 4 major sports.
  7. Or MLB should use the NFL’s approach where players and coaches are the ones that handle two-thirds of the voting…yet they have the 2nd lowest of the 4 major sports.
  8. Now MLB had its controversies with ballet stuffing, one was dated from the 1957 All-Star Game in St. Louis when 7 out of the 8 position players were all from the Cincinnati Reds (Redlegs back then). The lone player not from Cincinnati was the hometown Cardinals star Stan Musial.
  9. Why is St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Pat Neshek an All-Star?
  10. Mike Matheny will lose to John Farrell once again in the All-Star Game.
  11. There should never be a representative from every team in the game…if they are playing like crap, too bad, no selection for you.
  12. Certain superstar players should be able to play in the game until the end, especially when critical situations occur, forget the 2 at-bats and sit down deal. Example: The 1994 All-Star Game at the old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.
  13. I can’t wait till Bud Selig retires…it’s almost in the same light as David Stern’s retirement with the NBA. Get these OLD MEN out of the door.
  14. As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, the only deserving All-Star is Adam Wainwright. Matt Carpenter is a slight maybe. (NOTE: The Cardinals have 4 All-Stars)
  15. This game itself is supposed to fun and exciting to watch, at least that’s how I remember it. I barely watched the game last year and a few innings of the 2012 game that included the dominance of the National League (I checked the final score).

I’m done for now. I may do more All-Star rants in the future but this seems good enough. If you have something that burns your hair, leave an intelligent comment below.

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The A-Train

Houston, We Have A Problem!

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The Astros have been the biggest sellers of trading off older and contract challenged players in 2012. The Astros have good depth of young upcoming player prospects in multiple positions from their farm system minor leagues.

Yes, their coming off the franchise worst record last season, a dismal 56-106 record in 2011, but consider this for you baseball purists. The Astros are 1 of 6 teams that have won the National league Central 4 times as champs, 2nd best behind the 8-time champ St.Louis Cardinals. Yes, the good ol’ days of the Killer B’s of Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, and Bell are gone. Furthermore, the even older good years of playing on my buddy Mike’s Nintendo – RBI Baseball video game with infamous players like Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Glenn Davis, and Kevin Bass are decades done. These “almost Astros” of near dynasties are down the drain if the name Astros is permanently removed in 2013.

Yes, you heard right.

The Astros are considering changing not only the uniforms no biggie right, but changing the team name. Why?? Isn’t it enough that the more than 2 decades and counting rivalry is over in the NL Central when Bud Selig (an awesome Commish BTW he really is good I’ve had him reply to my written letter before BTW) would insist the new owner move the team to the American League as a condition of the sale. However why would the NL Central and same overcrowded division team like the Milwaukee Brewers not just move back to the American League?

Well Selig isn’t really elaborating into why, but we do know Selig’s’ family owns the Brewers and his main reason for moving the Astros to the American league is because the AL West Division is short one team and needs to even out the divisions league wide. The Astros announcers, Jim Deshaies and Bill Brown are very witty, have great voices, humorous stories, and a compelling draw about them during the TV broadcasts nightly. As a Cardinal Fan from St.Louis’ I will miss watching pertinent NL games with them airing on MLB Extra innings.

One of Baseball’s most compelling traits is the purity of its past which ties into familiarity of those team uniforms we’ve grown up to expect every season. If the Astros are no more much the same way as the Expos exit from Canada’s second team, will we twinge or have fond memories when we hear the defunct team name again as an announcer mentions the team? Probably, but where is the continuity when Houston will be one of the first professional sports franchise to have the exact same team in place but name it something different three times over the course of 50 years. Do the math, John Grotts (John is my buddy from StL who moved to Houston) always was a whiz kid, but anyways the math says the Astros are on pace to re-name the same team a new name about every 16 season’s if they do indeed give the Houston team a new one in 2013. (Houston Colt 45’s, Houston Astros, 2013 new-name?). Astros new owner Jim Crane said in January the team will conduct a study to decide whether or not to switch the name. “We’re going to study the information both from the fans and from all sorts of marketing people,” Crane said. “I’m not saying we’re going to change. We haven’t made the decision yet whether we’re going to change.”

When the Houston Oilers left the Astrodome for Tennessee there was good reason to rename the team since Tennessee is not known for oil. (Hence the name Tennessee Titans). What good reason does this team have to rename and move to the American league? And don’t tell me it’s because Space town Houston has a fan base that has lost interest in Astro-nauts because NASA has next to nothing left in funding for the Space program due to no more American dollars to fund it.

Houston we have a HUGE problem!

-Written by Bryan Kreutz

A Train’s 2012 MLB All-Stars…Part 1

As the 2012 MLB All-Star Game approaches, the A-Train has provided you the fan some all-star picks that you can use for your ASG ballots. Some you might agree with and others you might just think I’m crazy.

But here it goes…Part 1 begins with the National League All-Stars for manager Tony LaRussa (yep, this is his last one…remember he won the World Series last year)

NOTE: This is from the catcher position all the way to the outfielders. All stats are as of 6/25/2012

Catcher – Yadier Molina (Cardinals) – Molina is on his way to a breakout season as a catcher. His .318 average, 10 HR and 39 RBI should keep Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves from getting the nod. McCann back in the 2010 game stole the show with his clutch 3-run single in the top of the 7th to help stop the American League’s string of all-star wins (since 1997) come to an end.

1st Base – Joey Votto (Reds) – Now that Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are in a different league…Votto should be the starting 1st baseman of the NL All-Stars for a while. Another solid season for Votto (.359 average, 14 HR and 47 RBI) means that nobody couldn’t come close to getting this nod. Should be an easy pick for any NL ballot.

2nd Base – Brandon Phillips (Reds) – Here is another easy selection for this team. I mean come on…what other 2nd baseman in the National League is there…mind you…that qualifies to be on this all-star team. Maybe Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks? Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves? While many people can’t stand this guy (mostly Cardinal fans), this guy is still an excellent fielder and hitter. To me, this was (like I said) an easy choice.

Shortstop – Ian Desmond (Nationals) – Yes, I am still not choosing Furcal. Desmond has the numbers which are the best of the NL shortstops (12 HR and 49 RBI)…all the other big names like Jose Reyes of the Marlins and Jimmy Rolllins…major disappointments. NOTE: Troy Tulowitzki (my first choice) is on the 15-day disabled list. So that would have made that pick irrelevant. Choose Ian Desmond.

3rd Base – David Freese – (Cardinals) – Now many people will disagree with this pick as well, but Freese, after his awesome postseason of last year is still doing a solid job (.279 average, 13 HR and 46 RBI). Don’t get me wrong, you have some good competition at 3rd like Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates (despite the .229 average), Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins, and of course David Wright of the New York Mets, who is batting .360. His defense has been much better and has provided some fielding gems that could (in my opinion) earn him a Gold Glove. This is NOT  just because I’m a Cardinal fan…I’M CALLING THEM LIKE I SEE THEM!

Outfielder – Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) – STRAIGHT BEAST MODE!! I mean this is rejuvenated Beltran that we are seeing here. But if he doesn’t START the all-star game, every Cardinal fan should be ashamed of themselves. Despite his injuries, Beltran is having a wonderful offensive season, tied for the NL lead in home runs with 20 and 56 RBIs, no doubt in my mind that he should be the starter. Better yet he should be the leading vote-getter. GET IT TOGETHER FOLKS, there is still time to make that happen.

Outfielder – Ryan Braun (Brewers) – Even though I can’t stand this dude, last year’s NL MVP gets a nod from me. This “cheater” (yeah I said it) is still putting together a solid season (.319 average, 20 HR, 52 RBI) without the likes of Prince Fielder to protect him. He still has an all-star presence despite his shortcomings. I would be really surprised if he’s snubbed as a starter. I really would. But then again, cheaters never prosper.

Outfielder – Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – This was very debatable but this 25-year old star deserves to get the chance to start in an all-star game and define his all-star status. It’s his time. His numbers compare with the others (.340 avg, 13 HR, 45 RBI, and even 14 stolen bases), I mean I can’t see why he shouldn’t start. I MEAN REALLY! This is a 5-tool player…unless you see something wrong that I don’t. Put the votes in for him, his team may not be  doing the best but this a team of solid, young players. His energy to the game is what most young players should have and (by George) he’s got it.

Designated Hitter – Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – Holliday is putting up solid numbers even without Mr. Pujols (.299 avg, 12 HR, 47 RBI) . I can’t see him not being an all-star in any other capacity. He should get the nod for Tony’s team.

This team looks solid and could put together a 3-game winning streak for the National League. But those other guys in the American League might have something to say about that. Next time, I’ll provide for you my American League All-Stars.

A-Train