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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Willis and Mussina lead list of All-Star Game snubs

With the announcement of the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game rosters, America's true favorite pastime -- second-guessing the selections -- can begin in earnest. Though last year's tie- game fiasco has provided for several improvements as to how players are chosen, including allowing players to have some input, there were still several glaring omissions from the final rosters.

National League Pitcher: Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins

Sure, he's only a 21 year-old rookie, but his odd delivery and excellent fastball have befuddled even the most accomplished of hitters. Over 11 starts this year, he has compiled an 8-1 record and 2.13 ERA, while striking out 68 and allowing a measly 21 walks over 71 2/3 innings. Yet, he was not selected to the NL squad. The unfortunate rule that each team must be represented allowed undeserving pitchers such as the Mets' Armando Benitez (2-3, 3.11, 21 Saves, six blown saves) and Pittsburgh's Mike Williams (0-3, 6.29 ERA, 24 SV, four BS) to sneak into the game, and left one of the game's most exciting up-and-coming stars on the outside looking in.

Also deserving consideration: Kevin Millwood, Philadelphia Phillies, Hideo Nomo, Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Position Player: Brian Giles, Pittsburgh Pirates

His run-production is down this year, but that is to be expected as Giles is playing for one of the most anemic offenses in the league. Giles is still batting .311 with a lofty .448 on-base percentage, second in the NL only to Barry Bonds, and ahead of Triple Crown candidate Albert Pujols. However, given the strength of the NL's outfield this year, it would have been hard to squeeze Giles on to the roster.

Also deserving consideration: Jeff Kent, 2B Houston Astros, Geoff Jenkins, OF Milwaukee Brewers

American League Pitcher: Mike Mussina, New York Yankees

The AL pitchers include a couple of middle relievers (Brendan Donnelly and Shigetoshi Hasegawa) and borderline closers (Lance Carter, "Everyday" Eddie Guardado), which left several deserving starting pitchers out of the mix. I'll go with Mussina as the most glaring omission. His 10-5 record, 3.14 ERA and 115 strikeouts should have made him a lock for a spot on the All-Star team. Recent struggles after an unbelievable start may have led to his omission.

Also deserving consideration: Sidney Ponson, Baltimore Orioles, Roger Clemens, New York Yankees

AL Position Player: Jason Giambi, 1B New York Yankees and Corey Koskie, 3B Minnesota Twins

In a weak crop of AL hitters, Giambi and Koskie should both get the nod. Despite a horrendous beginning to the year, Giambi has rebounded to hit .270 with 23 HR and 65 RBI, along with a lofty .423 on-base percentage. Koskie, meanwhile, is hitting .300 with 14 HR, 54 RBI, 6 steals and a .391 on-base percentage, all while playing a defensively sound third base. While Koskie could have replaced the slumping Troy Glaus (.260, 15 HR, 46 RBI, .359 on-base percentage), who was voted in by the fans, it is hard to argue with the Blue Jays' Carlos Delgado (.304, 28 HR, 92 RBI, .423 OBP) or Kansas City's Mike Sweeney (.321, 12 HR, 50 RBI, .440 OBP) as All-Stars, leaving Giambi on the outside this year.

Also deserving consideration: Milton Bradley, OF, Cleveland Indians, A.J. Pierzynski, C, Minnesota Twins

Mascot: Youppi!, Montreal Expos

One of the few highlights of last year's disaster in Milwaukee were Bernie Brewer's antics on a slide in center field. This year, as the game is being held at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, and the Chisox lack a viable mascot, Youppi! should get the nod. While no one is quite sure what Youppi! is supposed to be, he plugs away at every Expos home game. Be it in the tomb that is Olympic Stadium in Montreal, or the vibrant atmosphere of San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Youppi! brings joy to spectators of all ages, cultures, and nationalities. Youppi! is the perfect ambassador for an increasingly international game.