Tag: 2012 MLB All-Star Game

MLB Awards: My End-of-Season All-Star Team

Well, the “Boys of Summer” have faded into the sunset, and we are now almost three months removed from the Midsummer Classic. 

With a lot of water under the bridge and the award season discussion already in full swing, I thought I’d release my 68 picks if the All-Star Game were held today instead of in July

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MLB Trade Scenarios: 10 MLB All-Stars Who Could Be on the Move in July

With the just-concluded 2012 MLB All-Star Game now a distant memory, the business of baseball once again takes center stage.

Over the final two-plus weeks of the month, contending teams will be jockeying for position, hoping to land that key acquisition that can help their playoff aspirations.

Among the many players who will no doubt be discussed by teams are players who took part in the All-Star game last Tuesday.

Here is a list of five 2012 MLB All-Stars and five former All-Stars who could be playing for contending teams in early August.

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Melky Cabrera Named 2012 MLB All-Star Game MVP

The American League All-Stars didn’t have a memorable night in Kansas City, but the National League’s starting center fielder, Melky Cabrera, certainly did.

Following the NL’s 8-0 drubbing of their counterparts, Cabrera was named the All-Star Game MVP in  ballpark he called home last season with the Kansas City Royals.

Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored, and the 27-year-old switch-hitter was presented with a 2013 Chevy Camaro for his performance.

There were a couple other options to choose from for the 2012 Midsummer Classic MVP, but Cabrera was definitely the best choice.

Ryan Braun got the scoring started for the N.L. with a run-scoring double in the first inning. 

Justin Verlander then walked a pair to bring Pablo Sandoval to the plate, who promptly rapped a base-clearing triple off the right-field wall.

Dan Uggla came up and drove in Cabrera with an infield single to round out the first-inning scoring for Tony La Russa’s team.

The game was quiet until the fourth inning when Rafael Furcal tripled to right. He was chased home by Matt Holliday, who was pinch-hitting for Carlos Gonzalez.

Cabrera then stepped up to the plate and drilled a 2-2 fastball from Texas Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison over the left-field fence to push the lead to 8-0.

It was a dull game after the fourth inning, as there were only six hits combined over the final five frames at Kauffman Stadium.

Cabrera is hitting .353 with eight homers and 44 RBI this season. The Giants are surely hoping that this award helps him to build on an already impressive season out West.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All Star Game 2012 Results: Score, Twitter Reaction, Recap and Analysis

The National League jumped out to a giant lead early, and never looked back in their convincing 8-0 win over the American League at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City for their third straight All-Star Game win.

Melky Cabrera (Giants) won named the game’s MVP after hitting a two-run home run en route to a 2-for-3 night with two runs.

The 83rd annual Midsummer Classic started off with a bang, as the NL was able to tag Justin Verlander (Tigers) for five runs in the first inning.

A Ryan Braun (Brewers) double scored Cabrera, but the big blow came four batters later when Pablo Sandoval (Giants) smacked a bases-loaded triple to the corner of right field to give the National League a 4-0 lead before the American League had a chance to bat.

From there, it was smooth sailing for the NL.

The pitching staff was brilliant, led by starter Matt Cain (Giants) who threw two innings of one-hit baseball. After Cain, it was Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Stephen Strasburg (Nationals), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), R.A. Dickey (Mets), Cole Hamels (Phillies), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Wade Miley (Diamondbacks), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates) and Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies) who combined for the six-hit shutout against an incredibly talented AL lineup.

They are the true MVPs of the ballgame, the first All-Star shutout since the NL blanked the AL 6-0 back in 1996. The eight-run margin marks the biggest win the NL has ever had over the AL. 


Twitter Reaction

Verlander is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball right now, but he got absolutely shelled by the NL lineup. How rare is it for Verlander to give up five runs in the first inning? CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler has the answer:


Not only did Sandoval hit a triple, but so did Braun and Rafael Furcal (Cardinals). That’s an All-Star Game record according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi:


There is no question the most valuable team on Tuesday night was the San Francisco Giants. As ESPN’s Buster Olney points out, they are now owed an apology by critics who didn’t approve of three of them being in the starting lineup:


Billy Butler (Royals) stepped to the dish in the seventh inning for his first official All-Star plate appearance to resounding cheers from the home crowd.

He was facing Cole Hamels, who is still taking heat for plunking Bryce Harper (Nationals) for no reason in particular earlier in the season. Former MLB legend Dale Murphy made this priceless joke making light of the matchup:


Say what you want about whether the All-Star Game winner should be awarded home-field advantage in the World Series, but it’s clearly important, as CNBC’s Darren Rovell tells us: 



This was a rather boring All-Star Game to say the least.

It was exciting to see all of the runs scored off Verlander, but it made for a rather mundane rest of the game.

The AL was only able to muster six hits, and only posed a real threat to score in the fifth inning.

The only memorable moment from the game came when Chipper Jones (Braves) was able to single in his lone plate appearance. Considering this will be his final appearance at the All-Star Game, it was cool to see him leave with a hit.

You could argue Tony La Russa using three pitchers in the ninth was a fitting end to his career, but most of America had already changed the channel by that point.

In the end, a ton of credit goes to the Giants. They had a pitcher go two scoreless innings, and three hitters who combined for five RBI, including the MVP of the game.

Whoever makes it to the Fall Classic needs to thank San Francisco for the Giants’ respective efforts tonight. 


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Home Run Derby 2012: There Is No Need for Change in Rules

In the 2012 Home Run Derby, there was a big-time reaction for Home Run Derby captain Robinson Cano.  That reaction was filled with an array of boos from the Kansas City crowd.

Why the hostility for the second baseman? 

Well, he said he would pick a a member of the Kansas City Royals a couple of weeks prior to the event.  That guy would be All-Star Billy Butler.  The Royals DH was not chosen by Cano. 

This has happened before.  Last year, captain Prince Fielder received boos after failing to pick local hometown boy Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Now, commissioner Bud Selig said that the Baseball Writers Association of America will discuss a possible rule change to the anticipated event.  This rule will be for the captain to choose a player from where the Home Run Derby is being played.  In other words, a hometown boy.

Fans booing should not have such an impact on a decision like this.  Should Cano have not commented at all that he would choose a Royal?  Yes, but in the end, isn’t it his decision? 

Could the MLB have stepped in and held Cano to a higher standard to make sure he did pick Butler?  Yes, there is an argument for that as well. 

Players like Cano shouldn’t be booed like he was on Monday night, but he asked for it.  Does that mean the MLB should jump in and demand the captain to choose a local?  No, that isn’t very fair.

Fans buy the tickets, and they have the right to cheer and boo as they please.  Perhaps he would have gotten booed anyways for being a Yankee.  It comes with the territory, usually. 

So, with the festivities heading to Citi Field next year, would it be wrong for the Home Run Derby captain to not choose David Wright or a member of the New York Mets?  No, it should be their decision. 

These players are volunteering for the event.  They shouldn’t have to deal with many rules.  MLB guys are used to getting cheered and booed.  Quite frankly, they are athletes and fans show them positive and negative emotions.

While some don’t necessarily deserve the reaction they receive, that shouldn’t have any power on the future of the Home Run Derby.

Having a hometown player could be good for the sport and event, but is it coming along the wrong way?  This would be a decision of haste and reaction of Cano’s night. 

This story may not have been such a big deal if Cano hadn’t said anything in the first place.  Perhaps the clubhouses should tell their players to not make such promises if they can’t handle the negative reactions if they end up backing out of the deal. 

There will always be the risk of having a hometown player that won’t be considered worthy of the nod by many baseball experts and fans. 

The MLB shouldn’t make a decision like this based on one night. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

All-Star Game Lineup 2012: Grading Every Starter’s Performance

The 83rd edition of the MLB All-Star Game is underway at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

With the starting lineups already having been analyzed and discussed ad nauseum since Monday morning, we’ll add even more to the nauseous mix, so to speak.

We will grade the performance of each starter’s performance in the Midsummer Classic, taking into consideration the quality of their at-bats, their defensive plays, their attempts to conquer hitters on the mound, their social media skills while playing, and their ability to win over the hearts and minds of the fans.

Well, maybe not the social media skills, and Robinson Cano may be the only player who needs to do the final item on that list.

Nonetheless, we will grade everything else.

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2012 All-Star Game: 10 Ways to Make the All-Star Game Experience Better

There’s no question that Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is better than the All-Star games of the NBA, NHL and NFL. The Midsummer Classic has history going for it, and it’s also more fun to watch than the other All-Star games.

So bravo, MLB. I know how much you like to freak out about popularity, so you can hold your heads high knowing that you have the best All-Star game in America.

…But this doesn’t mean that Major League Baseball’s All-Star experience is perfect. On the contrary, there are quite a few improvements that could be made.

Ahead of you lie 10 ways Major League Baseball can improve the All-Star festivities and the All-Star Game itself.

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MLB: A Review of the 2012 Season’s First Half and Midseason Awards

This past offseason for Major League Baseball provided a lot of excitement and much anticipation. Big name players such as Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder left their respected ball clubs for greener pastures—or greener contracts. Small-market clubs grew up in Miami and Washington following multiple signings, a high profile coaching hire and trades.

Halfway through this season, and with the deadline still a couple of weeks away, we’re yet to see a large amount of in-season trades. But, the action and storylines have not disappointed.

With almost three months of the regular season to go, there are still some big questions that remain to be answered.

Will the surprising teams continue their success?

Will this year’s disappointments right the ship in time for October?

And, of course, what team and which players will be taking home some hardware?

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MLB All-Star Game 2012: Chipper Jones, R.A. Dickey and 7 Must-Watch Moments

The 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City will certainly have some exciting, can’t-miss moments. There are players whose outstanding careers are ending, while other players are just getting started.

While the All-Star Game is just an exhibition game, this should be a fun one with plenty of highlights that could be talked about for weeks.

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2012 MLB All-Star Game: Tony La Russa Is Changing an All-Star Managers’ Role

An all-star manager’s role can be described in two different ways:

1) It is the easiest job in the world—it’s impossible to make a mistake with such a surplus of talent. You can literally throw any player anywhere and things will work out.


2) It is the hardest job in the world—it’s impossible to squeeze so much talent into nine different spots in nine innings. While managers may want to implement a certain strategy with their starters (almost always the best players, except at third base for the NL this year), they also have to ensure that every all-star receives an ample amount of playing time.

NL manager Tony La Russa was picked apart by MLB analysts before we were even able to witness John Kruk stuffing his face with Kansas City BBQ. 

Were Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips intentionally snubbed? Was R.A. Dickey the deserving starter over Matt Cain? Should a retired manager even be allowed to participate in this event?

Tony La Russa has been scrutinized in every way possible, and although I agree he shouldn’t be managing this game (if home-field advantage in the World Series is involved, then active managers should be the ones fighting for the win), future all-star managers have a ton to learn from La Russa’s strategy.

La Russa has ignored the traditional “all-star approach.” He isn’t going to sit back and let players’ statistics mandate when/where they will play. No. Instead he is putting his very own spin on the game, managing in the same manner that won him three World Series titles and the third most games in MLB history.

Just because R.A. Dickey has the most wins in the MLB doesn’t mean he is the best option to start the game. 

[If you really want to argue stats, Cain has the same number of shutouts, is .22 higher in ERA, .03 higher in WHIP, thrown five fewer strikeouts, .1 less innings, and the three less wins? Dickey ranks 14th in run support (6.83 runs/game) while Cain ranks 45th (5.46)]

Did you ever care to think about how the move might play out? If Dickey throws first, the AL will see fastball pitchers for seven straight innings. But with the knuckleballer sandwiched in between two normal pitchers, it’s that much more of an adjustment AL hitters will have to make midway through the game.

Look at the Cueto/Phillips “snubbing” as well. Believe it or not, there is reasoning other than “he’s holding a grudge.”

La Russa loves his lefty/lefty, righty/righty pitching match-ups, and he let that influence his nine final picks. Every starting pitcher he chose was a lefty. Before his final decision, the NL’s bullpen had five lefties in comparison to eight righties. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to balance that out.

With Phillips, it was simply a matter of versatility in the field. Ian Desmond is quicker than Phillips and can play all over the infield. Desmond allows more flexibility late in games. Plus, with each player coming off the bench, Desmond is more of a threat to pinch-run and steal bases.

As a fan, you have every right to question a manager’s moves, especially when it’s a manager of another team. But how can you not love La Russa’s motives? He is transcending the game to a whole new level. It’s what Commissioner Selig has always wanted. It’s how we bring back the passion of Pete Rose plowing over a catcher in the Midsummer Classic.

Why shouldn’t a manager pick players he favors with his final nine picks? Isn’t that why he has that right in the first place? If I’m in that situation and winning is my primary concern, I’m selecting the guys who are going to bust their butts. I’m picking guys like Bryce Harper who run the bases on every pop out. And at the same time, I’m noting the difference between pitchers with great mound presence and those who show a poor demeanor. It’s my choice, and I’m going to weigh those options on my scale, not anyone else’s.

La Russa understands he is managing a baseball game with a lot on the line. Without an NL victory in 2011, his team may have never won the World Series last season. He’s not going to treat this like the celebrity softball event, and sometimes that means angering a fan or two.

He’s going out there to win, and if that means acting differently than the managers before him, so be it. 

He’s going out there to win, whether you like it or not.

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