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Picking an All-Star team no easy chore
Posted: Saturday July 03, 1999 04:48 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Before all the bickering begins about who gets picked for the All-Star team and who does not, blame the whole thing on Terry Steinbach.
Sure, he's a nice enough catcher. In fact, he was the MVP of the 1988 All-Star Game.
But because of the rule that every team in the majors must have one representative, Steinbach (.298, 3 HRs, 21 RBIs going into the weekend) might wind up as Minnesota's participant.
And that could start a series of shifts as Yankees manager Joe Torre and AL president Gene Budig try to assemble their team for the event July 13 at Fenway Park.
Of course, it's easy to point the finger at fans, particularly the ones in Cleveland. They're about to elect hometown hero Jim Thome (.266, 11, 39) at first base over Rafael Palmeiro (.362, 20, 70), and that will certainly cause even more headaches for Torre and Budig.
Now, go ahead and try to pick 28-man rosters for each league. Oh, and
just a few guidelines before getting started:
OK, pretty simple, huh? No wonder managers and league presidents never like this job, especially once the griping starts.
That said, here's a try at it before the real picks come out in a few days (x-leaders in latest fan vote):
Anaheim: P Troy Percival. Baltimore: x-3B Cal Ripken, P Mike Mussina, OF B.J. Surhoff. Boston: P Pedro Martinez, SS Nomar Garciaparra. Chicago: OF Magglio Ordonez. Cleveland: x-1B Jim Thome, x-2B Roberto Alomar, x-OF Manny Ramirez, x-OF Kenny Lofton, P Charles Nagy. Detroit: 3B Dean Palmer. Kansas City: 2B Carlos Febles. Minnesota: C Terry Steinbach. New York: x-SS Derek Jeter, P David Cone, P Mariano Rivera, OF Bernie Williams. Oakland: P Billy Taylor. Seattle: x-OF Ken Griffey Jr. Tampa Bay: x-DH Jose Canseco. Texas: x-C Ivan Rodriguez, 1B Rafael Palmeiro, P John Wetteland, P Jeff Zimmerman. Toronto: 3B Tony Fernandez, OF Shawn Green.
Quick Comments: Juan Gonzalez is certainly worthy, but gets left off because he only wants to start. Alex Rodriguez is deserving, but has been hurt and would not play much because Garciaparra is the hometown favorite. Roger Clemens wants to spend time with his family, and does not seem overly enthused about this game at Fenway. Ordonez gets the nod ahead of Frank Thomas, and Roberto Hernandez just misses.
Arizona: x-3B Matt Williams, P Randy Johnson, OF Luis Gonzalez, 2B Jay Bell. Atlanta: 3B Chipper Jones. Chicago: x-OF Sammy Sosa. Cincinnati: x-SS Barry Larkin, 1B Sean Casey. Colorado: x-OF Larry Walker. Florida: SS Alex Gonzalez. Houston: x-2B Craig Biggio, 1B Jeff Bagwell, P Jose Lima, P Mike Hampton, P Billy Wagner. Los Angeles: P Kevin Brown, P Jeff Shaw. Milwaukee: C Dave Nilsson. Montreal: OF Vladimir Guerrero. New York: x-C Mike Piazza, P John Franco. Philadelphia: P Curt Schilling. Pittsburgh: C Jason Kendall. St. Louis: x-1b Mark McGwire, P Kent Bottenfield. San Diego: x-OF Tony Gwynn, P Trevor Hoffman. San Francisco: OF Barry Bonds.
Quick Comments: Bonds has been injured, but should get to play at Fenway at least once in his career. Cubs OF Henry Rodriguez gets squeezed, as do Jeromy Burnitz, Robin Ventura and Jeff Kent. Robb Nen gets edged by Shaw's and Franco's stats. John Smoltz felt soreness in his most recent start, so he misses, but fellow Braves pitcher Greg Maddux might make it with his recent surge.
Paying through the roof
When the Mariners move into Safeco Field on July 15, they'll have the second-most expensive ticket in baseball.
Among the 382 Diamond Club seats behind home plate will be 28 first-row seats costing $195 per game.
The only ticket in baseball that's more expensive are the 60 Legends Box seats in the first row at Yankee Stadium, which cost $197.53 (they are sold at $16,000 each for the 81 home games).
The second-row seats at Safeco sell for $175 each, the third row for $160 apiece, the fourth row for $145, the fifth row for $130, the sixth row for $120, the seventh for $110 and the eighth for $100.
For normal tickets, the Yankees still charge a lot more -- $50 for the best boxes to $25 for the Mariners (the Terrace Club seats at Safeco, which include food service, go for $33 each).
First basemen try it every so often, but they rarely succeed. So J.T. Snow was pretty pleased when the San Francisco Giants caught Los Angeles pitcher Carlos Perez with the hidden-ball trick last weekend.
Perez had just driven in a run with a bunt single, and was celebrating at first base. He also began stretching, which may have distracted the first-base coach. In any case, Snow decided it was worth a try.
"It's the first time I've ever done it [successfully]," Snow said. "It was a close play and there was a lot of activity going on at first base. The first-base coach turned his back and was talking to Perez."
Snow waited for pitcher Chris Brock to get off the mound and patiently watched as Perez stepped off the bag.
"When I tagged him out, I think he was stunned. The umpire knew I had the ball and was waiting for the play to happen," Snow said. "The pitcher is a good guy to try it with. He can get caught up in the moment of getting a hit."
Just wait a few years
Even after the fact, Phillies leadoff man Doug Glanville and manager Terry Francona were holding out hope -- sort of -- that an official scorer's ruling might be reversed.
On Tuesday, Glanville reached when his grounder glanced off pitcher Kris Benson's shin. Such plays are usually scored as hits, but Bob Webb called it an error.
Official scorers have up until 24 hours to change their calls, but that didn't happen. Still, Francona looked at a loophole.
"If they can do it for Hack Wilson, maybe Dougie's got a chance," he said.
Recently, a baseball committee gave Hack Wilson one additional RBI and upped his record total to 191 in 1930.
"Years from now, when Benson has tied Jim Kaat's record for Gold Gloves, baseball scholars will take away that error and give me the base hit," Glanville said.
Nelson Liriano and Rich Batchelor are the latest former major leaguers to join teams in Japan.
Liriano hit .260 in 11 seasons in the big leagues. The 35-year-old infielder played briefly for Colorado last year, and was in the Mexican League this season. He joined the Chunichi Dragons.Batchelor was 0-4 with 12 saves and a 4.50 ERA this year for Class AAA Tucson, Arizona's top farm team. He will join former major leaguers Jason Jacome and Roberto Petagine on the Yakult Swallows, and will take the roster spot of one-time big leaguer Mark Acre, likely sidelined for the season by a shoulder injury.
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