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…

1. HE’S MULTI TALENTED

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.

2. HE ACTUALLY WILL BE USEFUL IN THE GAME

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.

3. YOU NEED A SCRAPPY JACK OF ALL TRADES WHEN ASSEMBLING A TEAM

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.

4. WHY THE FUSS? THIS IS FAR FROM THE WORST ALL STAR SELECTION OF ALL TIME

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.

5. YOU KNOW HE IS GOING TO APPRECIATE IT

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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How many All Star selections do I agree with?


The All Star selections this year have been some of the strangest and bringing around the most controversy of any year I can remember.

With each roster at 35 players, there really shouldn’t be any MAJOR controversy. The top players should be in there and the arguments should be over fringe players.

Alas, this year there are some whoppers of omissions, including Joey Votto, who I had as the starting DH for the National League, and Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis, who are both having amazing years.

Now all three are on the “pick the final player” poll (or whatever it is called) but they should have to sing for their supper. They should be in, no questions asked.

Some players that got in that I didn’t pick I have no problem with… Matt Thornton, Phil Hughes, Jose Valverde… all having nice years.

And I didn’t include David Ortiz nor Victor Martinez on MY list, so I guess you can’t accuse me of excessive Red Sox bias!

But I’m not saying anything that isn’t taking up hours of talk radio time right now.
I suppose that’s why I listed my All Star Roster ahead of the release of the real rosters.

That way I can show it wasn’t second guessing. (Although I forgot that Troy Tulowitzki was on the Disabled List. Whoops.)

So let’s see which All Stars I agreed with and which ones I didn’t.

American League All Stars that I picked as well

(The players voted in by fans)

ROBINSON CANO, Yankees
CARL CRAWFORD, Rays
VLADIMIR GUERRERO, Rangers
JOSH HAMILTON, Rangers
DEREK JETER, Yankees
EVAN LONGORIA, Rays
JOE MAUER, Twins
JUSTIN MORNEAU, Twins
ICHIRO SUZUKI, Mariners
(Pitchers and Reserves That I Also Picked)
ELVIS ANDRUS, Rangers
ADRIAN BELTRE, Red Sox
CLAY BUCHHOLZ, Red Sox
JOHN BUCK, Blue Jays
MIGUEL CABRERA, Tigers
TREVOR CAHILL, A’s
TORII HUNTER, Angels
IAN KINSLER, Rangers
CLIFF LEE, Mariners
JON LESTER, Red Sox
ANDY PETTITTE, Yankees
DAVID PRICE, Rays
MARIANO RIVERA, Yankees
C. C. SABATHIA, Yankees
JOAKIM SORIA, Royals
VERNON WELLS, Blue Jays


American League Players I chose
but didn’t make the All Star Roster
ANDREW BAILEY, A’s
SHIN SOO CHOO, Indians
FELIX HERNANDEZ, Mariners
PAUL KONERKO, White Sox
COLBY LEWIS, Rangers
NICK MARKAKIS, Orioles
MIKE NAPOLI, Angels
JARED WEAVER, Angels
KEVIN YOUKILIS, Red Sox
American League Players that made
the All Star Roster that I DIDN’T pick
JOSE BAUTISTA, Blue Jays
FAUSTO CARMONA, Indians
NEFTALI FELIZ, Rangers
PHIL HUGHES, Yankees
VICTOR MARTINEZ, Red Sox
DAVID ORTIZ, Red Sox
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, Yankees
MATT THORNTON, White Sox
JOSE VALVERDE, Tigers
TY WIGGINTON, Orioles
National League All Stars that I picked as well
(The players voted in by fans)

RYAN BRAUN, Brewers
ANDRE ETHIER, Dodgers
YADIER MOLINA, Cardinals
ALBERT PUJOLS, Cardinals
HANLEY RAMIREZ, Marlins
DAVID WRIGHT, Mets

(Pitchers and Reserves That I Also Picked)

MARLON BYRD, Cubs
ADRIAN GONZALEZ, Padres
ROY HALLADAY, Phillies
COREY HART, Brewers
RYAN HOWARD, Phillies
TIM HUDSON, Braves

UBALDO JIMENEZ, Rockies
JOSH JOHNSON, Marlins
TIM LINCECUM, Giants
BRIAN McCANN, Braves
BRANDON PHILLIPS, Reds
SCOTT ROLEN, Reds
TROY TULOWITZKI, Rockies
ADAM WAINWRIGHT, Cardinals
National League Players I chose
but didn’t make the All Star Roster

HEATH BELL, Padres
R. A. DICKEY, Mets
JAIME GARCIA, Cardinals
DAN HAREN, Diamondbacks
MAT LATOS, Padres
MIGUEL OLIVO, Rockies
ROY OSWALT, Astros
COLBY RASMUS, Cardinals
STEPHEN STRASBURG, Nationals
JOEY VOTTO, Reds
BILLY WAGNER, Braves
JAYSON WERTH, Phillies

National League Players that made
the All Star Roster that I DIDN’T pick
MICHAEL BOURN, Astros
JONATHAN BROXTON, Dodgers
MATT CAPPS, Nationals
CHRIS CARPENTER, Cardinals
YOVANI GALLARDO, Brewers
MATT HOLLIDAY, Cardinals
OMAR INFANTE, Braves
EVAN MEEK, Pirates
JOSE REYES, Mets
ARTHUR RHODES, Reds
BRIAN WILSON, Giants
CHRIS YOUNG, Diamondbacks

I am voting for Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis for the final roster spot… although with Youk going down we might have the sore sight of All Star Nick Swisher.

TO BE CONTINUED

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Sully Baseball Picks THE AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL STAR ROSTER

The All Star rosters are going to be announced today and inevitably there will be a lot of people ticked off at the results.

And there will be people angry at the popularity contest that is the fan votes.

And also people will hate that every team needs to be represented.

All predictable reactions…
But I am not going to bitch and moan. Or at least not yet. I am going to assemble my All Star Roster for the American League and post it before the real one is announced.

And I will use the current All Star rules.
In other words the starting line up will be as voted by the fans and each team will indeed have a representative.

I’ll pick 24 reserves and pitchers for the AL.

And seeing that homefield advantage in the World Series is on the line, I am putting together a teamwith a shot to win.

So let’s put together the 2010 American League All Star Team…

THE 2010 AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL STAR TEAM
(As Picked By The Staff of Sully Baseball)

STARTING LINEUP
(Based on Current Voting Standings)

CATCHER – JOE MAUER, Minnesota

FIRST BASEMAN – JUSTIN MORNEAU, Minnesota

SECOND BASEMAN – ROBINSON CANO, New York

SHORTSTOP – DEREK JETER, New York

THIRD BASEMAN – EVAN LONGORIA, Tampa Bay

LEFT FIELDER – CARL CRAWFORD, Tampa Bay

CENTER FIELDER – JOSH HAMILTON, Texas

RIGHT FIELDER – ICHIRO SUZUKI, Seattle

DESIGNATED HITTER – VLADIMIR GUERRERO, Texas

PITCHERS and RESERVES
(As selected by the Staff of Sully Baseball)

STARTING PITCHER – DAVID PRICE, Tampa Bay

ADDITIONAL PITCHERS

ANDREW BAILEY, Oakland
CLAY BUCHHOLZ, Boston
TREVOR CAHILL, Oakland
FELIX HERNANDEZ, Seattle

CLIFF LEE, Seattle
JON LESTER, Boston
COLBY LEWIS, Texas

ANDY PETTITTE, New York
MARIANO RIVERA, New York
CC SABATHIA, New York
JOAKIM SORIA, Kansas City
JARED WEAVER, Los Angeles

ADDITIONAL POSITION PLAYERS

ELVIS ANDRUS, Texas
ADRIAN BELTRE, Boston

JOHN BUCK, Toronto
MIGUEL CABRERA, Detroit
TORII HUNTER, Los Angeles

IAN KINSLER, Texas
PAUL KONERKO, Chicago
NICK MARKAKIS, Baltimore
MIKE NAPOLI, Los Anegeles
SHIN-SOO CHOO, Cleveland
VERNON WELLS, Toronto
KEVIN YOUKILIS, Boston

There you have it.
Each team is represented and each position has an able back up. The rotation and bullpen are deep and there is a pair of reserve catchers.

You might be asking, “Now dear Sully, why are you only doing the American League?”

Because I am tired and I want to go to bed.

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