Oh, good. I've been struggling with the "Yasiel Puig in the All-Star Game" question. But I'm struggling no longer, now that Professor Jonathan R. Papelbon has weighed in:
"To me, it's an absolute joke," Papelbon told MLB Network Radio when asked about Puig's All-Star candidacy. "It's really kind of stupid if you ask me."
"The guy's got a month, I don't even think he's got a month in the big leagues," Papelbon said during the interview. "Just comparing him to this and that, and saying he's going to make the All-Star team, that's a joke to me.
"It's just really what happens in baseball when … to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight-, nine-, 10-plus years. It kind of does them an injustice because they've worked so hard to stay there."
Gee, speaking of "kind of stupid" ... The All-Star Game has never been about rewarding veteran players. Not much, anyway. In a few cases over the years, there have been what we might term "honorary" selections. But those were reserved for superstars on their way out of the game. There's never been any real notion that veterans of eight or nine or ten years deserve some special consideration.
Leaving aside the roster rules and bloviating closers from Philadelphia, the term All-Star should mean (and usually has meant) two things: the most popular, exciting players; and the best players. Yasiel Puig might be the most exciting player right now. Is he one of the best players? Well, that's hard to say. But it seems to me that if he's the most exciting player and he's got a 50-percent chance of being one of the National League's six best outfielders ... well, you've got yourself an All-Star.
We can argue about the 50-percent thing. But Papelbon's not arguing about that. He's just talking a lot of nonsense.
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