5 Reasons Why I Am Happy Omar Infante Is An All Star

When Charlie Manuel put Omar Infante on his All Star Roster while leaving players like Billy Wagner, Jaime Garcia, Stephen Strasburg and Joey Votto off, the uproar from columnists and bloggers was so loud that you would have thought he punched Yogi Berra in the face right after tearing down Wrigley Field and ordering that “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” be replaced by Lady Gaga’s Pokerface.

I even got mail and comments saying “When are you going to say something about Omar Infante?”

Yes, it was a surprising choice.

And a quick glimpse at the Braves Baseball Reference page for 2010 doesn’t even list Infante as a starter. There is a Brave player who has started more games at each position than Infante, whose position is listed as UT. In other words a utility man is an All Star.

Well I must say, while I admit he wasn’t on MY All Star Ballot, I don’t mind that he is an All Star. And let me tell you why…


While he can’t be listed at one position, he IS a starter for the Braves… he’s someone who has started a six different positions in the field.

There are some players, like my beloved Big Papi, who can’t even play one position on the field. Maybe the inclusion of Infante can help make the super versatile players more valued by teams and players will try and move around the diamond in hopes of making the All Star team.


Remember the last time the National League won the All Star Game, the Yankees were in a 18 year World Series title drought, the Macarena was considered cool and there was hope for the new Star Wars prequels.
The National League hasn’t had homefield in the World Series since 2001… when the Diamondbacks won in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7.

Flashy or not, it is useful for Charlie Manuel to have a guy who can fill in all around the diamond when he makes pinch hitting decisions and defensive switches.

Who knows? Maybe he can pitch and we can avoid another tied All Star Game catastrophe.


I’m not just talking about a baseball team. When Kobyashi was putting together The Usual Suspects or Professor Xavier was assembling the X-Men or Lee Marvin was picking The Dirty Dozen or the team from Munich was being recruited… They can’t all be the cool leading man. You need that smaller and less imposing guy who can get stuff done.

Remember when Costner was putting together The Untouchables? The last one he put on the team was Oscar the accountant. He wasn’t the leader like Costner or the wise Connery or the bad ass shooter like Andy Garcia… but it was his brains that came up with the idea of pinning Capone on tax evasion. They NEEDED him.

The American League is Capone. Maybe Infante will bring them down.


Kosuke Fukudome got elected to the All Star Game and he has yet to have an above average season. Josh Hamilton started when he was having a mediocre season. Jason Giambi was elected in a year where he was so horrible that Joe Torre left him off the playoff roster.

Jose Rosado made a pair of All Star teams and Roger Pavlik made the 1996 All Star Team with a 4.82 ERA… and Pavlik wasn’t a “We need at least one player from each team” selection. He was on a Rangers team.

Infante is at least having a good season. And he’s doing it for a surprise first place team… so he must have some value.


There is going to be no “If I Am Not Startin’ I Am Not Departin'” Garry Templeton rant coming from Infante. Heck, at this point I am wondering if Infante thinks his All Star Selection was part of an elaborate of Punk’d.

I know the All Star Team isn’t the Make A Wish Foundation but let’s face it, it isn’t life and death either. By the time Omar Infante gets in the game it will be later… when the benches are being emptied out, the likes of Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter will be in their street clothes and chances are some pitcher you’ve never heard of will be on the mound.

Why not have a versatile .332 hitter come to the plate?

All this attention has probably made a few Fantasy Players pick him up and hey! Now people know who he is.

Of course the greatest revenge of all could be had by Infante to his critics… and even though I am rooting for the American League, there is a scenario that I would love to see for a National League win… Infante homering in the 9th inning to give the NL the lead.

It’s a stretch. But so is Infante making the All Star Game in the first place!

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Plesac LaBeouf

I can’t explain why… but every time I see MLB Network commentator and former Milwaukee Brewer Dan Plesac, I think “That’s what Shia LaBeouf will look like in about 20 years.

Not bad looking, inevitably a little doughier and probably coloring his hair.

Here’s an interesting fun fact about Shia LeBeouf… his name is French for “Shia The Beef.”

That’s a tidbit you can share with your loved ones while having breakfast.

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Why this Red Sox fan thinks George Steinbrenner was good for baseball

George Steinbrenner, a unintentionally a showman to the end, died on the morning of the All Star Game. Nobody knows how sick he has been over the last few years as his public appearances have been more and more seldom and his sons Hal and Hank have been running the show.
But now the Boss is gone. And so is a baseball era.
I know I am a Red Sox fan and my blogpost title might have some people think I am going to write a snarky sarcastic piece… or that I am going to try and say something polite out of respect for the recently departed.
But I’m not. I am 100% sincere when I say that when George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees in the 1970s, it was a great moment for baseball in terms of popularity, passion and making the game more fun.
Think about it… for Yankee fans, the franchise turned around twice under his leadership. When he took over the team in 1973 from CBS, the Yankees were just another team. They were 9 years removed from their last pennant and they lagged far behind the Orioles, the Tigers and the mighty Oakland A’s in the American League… and the great Yankee Stadium was crumbling.
By the time of his death, the Yankees once again were the gold standard of baseball, winning titles in the 70s, 90s and 2000s with superstars both homegrown and acquired.
Yeah, George had his bad qualities as an owner. His insane merry go round of managers in the 1980s, his gobbling up of free agents from Catfish Hunter to CC Sabathia, and his treatment of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield and Joe Torre inexcusable.
But wasn’t that part of what made the Yankees of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s fun?
And for the rest of us… it was made the Yankees fun to HATE!
For whatever reason, Yankee fans have never seemed to embrace that they are the bad guys in baseball… the villains. But do you know who DID?
George M. Steinbrenner.
He got it. He understood that role the Yankees play in baseball. As I wrote before, the resentment for the Yankees started long before Steinbrenner took over the team. There’s no musical called “Damn Orioles.”
But with Steinbrenner the Yankees assumed the role of the monolithic team that everyone wanted to see and beat.
First with the Bronx Zoo, then with the efficient Torre Years and now with the star studded Jeter/Rivera/A-Rod teams, people love to root AGAINST them.
Don’t believe me? Check out the Yankees road attendance. Look at places like Oakland or Kansas City or Seattle or Cleveland when the Yankees come to town. There is always a spike in attendance. The teams charge more for tickets because they know that fans want to see their team beat the Yankees.
The Dodgers wouldn’t sell single game tickets for the Yankee series… you also had to buy tickets for a less desirable match up.
Like any James Bond film, the better the bad guy, the more exciting it is. And Steinbrenner was always the one to absorb the blows as the Oil Can Harry figure of the team. Whether it was in his crazy press releases, hosting SNL or getting a kick out of being a character on Seinfeld, he understood his role.
It was tough to hate quiet professional stars like Jorge Posada, Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams (although I found ways to)… but George was always a punching bag and he seemed to relish it.
The biggest dips in baseball’s popularity were in the late 1960s and the early 1990s… and in both times the Yankees were lousy. Is that a coincidence?
It’s tough to get worked up when the bad guy is the Oakland A’s or the Baltimore Orioles.
As for the biggest complaint about him… the fact that he spends the most on free agents on payroll, let’s not sidestep that.
Yeah, the payroll of the Yankees is obscenely high. Even more obscenely high than my beloved Red Sox who are as gluttonous as John Belushi circa 1981.
Let me ask you something though… do you think Steinbrenner is the richest owner in the game? For years that was Carl Pohlad of the Twins who let his players jump ship left and right and threatened to contract the team.
Who is a bigger disgrace to the game? George Steinbrenner for making every off season somewhat of a circus? Or the Pirates management pocketing revenue sharing and playing in a tax funded stadium while putting an unwatchable product on the field for nearly 2 decades?
And if you think that just playing in New York makes you a winner, then you should have some conversations with some Mets fans… or Knick fans… or Ranger fans… or Jet fans…. (Imagine if you were a Met/Knick/Ranger/Jet fan… Lord help you.)
As with most of the Yankee resentment, there comes a certain amount of jealousy. I know this as a Red Sox fan… I wanted the Yankee titles and all the Yankee stars to come to Boston. And when people started saying the Red Sox were evil like the Yankees I LOVED it.
Let’s face it, Sox fans… Steinbrenner and the Yankees raised the interest level for the Red Sox as well.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Sox main rivals were the Toronto Blue Jays. Yeah those pennant races were fun (especially the wild down to the last Brunansky catch season of 1990) but they were a mere sparkler compared to the fireworks of the late 1990s and 2000s clash with the Yankees.
The Red Sox became a national brand and the passion went through the roof. Part of that was the new ownership who sold the team to the public better than the moronic Yawkeys ever could. But they also had the perfect bad guy for Red Sox Nation.
Would 2004 have been as sweet if the Red Sox came back from 0-3 against the Twins?
Now of course I am heaping a lot of praise on how Steinbrenner ran the team over the years when of course he made many mistakes and often times was the benefactor of other people’s work that he disagreed with.
Lest we forget if he had his way Ron Guidry would have been traded to the Blue Jays.
Bernie Williams would have been dealt countless times.
As I wrote before the Yankees of the 1980s were a comedy of insanely bad decisions.
And Yankee managers Dick Howser, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter and Joe Torre all led other teams to the post season after getting fired by George.
But that was one of the things that made George fun as well… pointing out the mistakes and the BAD signings. The Hideki Irabus and Ed Whitsons… the Randy Johnsons and Carl Pavanos.
It’s going to be different now. With the Yankees as a conglomerate and most owners being anonymous, you aren’t going to see a lightning rod owner like this for a long time.
Who knows how interested Hank and Hal will be in running the Yankees?
Who knows what kind of passion there will be in the front office in the Bronx?
The Boss is gone.
Whether you loved him or hated him… feared him or mocked him… he made the game more fun.
I know I am going to miss him.
I covered a lot of this when I compared Steinbrenner to the Weinstein Brothers a few years ago… it is still applicable.
I don’t know if there is an afterlife or not. There may be… there may not be… but if there is, I hope someone up there is recording the George Steinbrenner-Billy Martin reunion.
It would be a sight to behold.
Rest in peace, Mr. Steinbrenner.

george steinbrenner roger clemens Pictures, Images and Photos

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