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Baseball loves to fall back on this notion that its All-Star Game is the finest in American professional sports, baseball jerseys cheap which it unquestionably is, even if that's like being the best-smelling durian. The NBA All-Star Game embraces that it's not a game with 48 minutes of back-and-forth dunking. The NFL's Pro Bowl is so bad the league's commissioner wanted to cancel it. Players regularly come down with mysterious injuries on the eve of the NHL All-Star Game in order to skip it buy mlb jerseys.

At the same time, MLB's All-Star Game is suffering from a bit of identity crisis in the wake of the full-team announcements Monday night that left one of its most recognizable players – one of the only players who embodies the star in All-Star – needing to win another round of fan voting simply to participate cheap baseball jerseys.

Clayton Kershaw is not some random jabroni. He is The Best Pitcher In The World, earning every one of those capital letters with a five-year run that stands with the best in the game's history cheap jerseys for sale. And because his earned-run average happens to be a tick over 3.00 – because looking past that number and at the peripherals that say he has pitched every bit as well, if not better than, all of his past seasons except last year's MVP-winning campaign seemed to be too difficult a task for those in charge – Kershaw is at the whim of a populace that fell about a half-million votes shy of electing Omar Infante to start the game cheap jerseys free shipping.

The intent of the All-Star Game is simple: delight fans. And an All-Star Game without someone of Kershaw's caliber, particularly when he's in the midst of a perfectly excellent year by everyone else's standards, would feel empty. There is a balance between choosing those in the midst of breakout seasons and those whose past achievements have earned them a ticket into the game because of who they are, cheap jerseys mlb not what they do.

Almost always this issue exists with pitchers. Fans vote on position players, and even as Derek Jeter stumbled toward the end of his career, they elected him to start the All-Star Game because he was Derek Freaking Jeter, and to the general public that wants to see the biggest names play in the Midsummer Classic, cheap jerseys online that matters.

By making the All-Star Game "count" – by taking an exhibition and assigning legitimate, tangible meaning to it because, heaven help us, that very exhibition had ended in a tie – Bud Selig ensured the purpose of the game would be bastardized in an effort by managers to win.

Simply look at the team American League manager Ned Yost picked on Monday. He chose Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt over Alex Rodriguez – the Alex Rodriguez who, like him or not, cheap mlb baseball jerseys is an actual known quantity in a game that begs for those sorts – because Rodriguez is a DH, and a team with a backup infielder for every position apparently isn't enough. Of Yost's 13 pitchers, seven are relievers. And he picked those seven, cheap mlb jerseys skipping over Scott Kazmir and Yovani Gallardo and Corey Kluber and Clay Buchholz, because he wants to match up his bullpen and win the game. If that means bringing in Zach Britton for one batter, hey, we're not here to celebrate baseball. And if that means the most boring, mind-numbing aspect of baseball infiltrating a game that's supposed to be about selling it to the casual fans who don't see most of the best players in the world on a daily basis, well, at least he's doing it for home-field advantage in the World Series.

Assigning that to the winner was the All-Star Game's original sin, mlb baseball jerseys cheap and it forces Yost to go through roster madness. More and more, the game became about the previous months instead of the previous years. And taking history into account with the All-Star Game would not be some grievous transgression. It's what players did with Yadier Molina, even though it was obvious Fracisco Cervelli is having a better season in nearly all respects. If tradition matters, it ought to at least be consistent in mattering and not force Clayton Kershaw to end up in some run-off.

The result of this would be further snubbery, of course, mlb cheap jerseys and despite rosters expanding to 34 players – with injuries, more than 10 percent of major league players are going to be All-Stars this season – a number of players have legitimate beefs. Brett Gardner, Yoenis Cespedes and Brian Dozier each can win a spot via the Final Vote, as can Kershaw, Jeurys Familia and Carlos Martinez. And it's the case of Martinez, actually, that makes Kershaw's exclusion seem so egregious.

Martinez's teammate, Michael Wacha, mlb jerseys cheap was one of NL manager Bruce Bochy's choices. Martinez has a better groundball rate. Wacha has a better home run rate. Martinez has a better strikeout rate. Wacha has a better walk rate. Their ERAs are practically identical. Same with their innings. And win-loss records. So what made one fungible and the other worthy of inclusion over The Best Pitcher In The World?

Slighting any Cardinals player for Kershaw, whom they've owned in consecutive postseasons, might not sit well in St. Louis. For the rest of the baseball world, though, the satisfaction of knowing a familiar face and delivery would make the All-Star Game the sort worth watching, the same logic for why World Series hero Madison Bumgarner's spot makes sense even if his numbers look an awful lot like Jason Hammel's mlb jerseys for cheap.

It's true: The All-Star Game does exist for star turns, for showcasing the Kris Bryants and Joc Pedersons of the world, for looking forward to 2016 when Carlos Correa is starting at shortstop for the AL. This dovetails with the idea that the game should be about stars. Some, like Kershaw, are older. Others, like Bryant, are on a quicker path, potentially the future of the game, the sort who belong on the stage even with just three months in the major leagues wholesale mlb jerseys. Delaying Michael Wacha for a year would be no felony, not when a cache of pitchers having similar seasons are on the outside looking in.


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