Monday, July 5, 2010

Taking Care Of Your Own

For better or worse, the MLB All-Star Game counts. Typically speaking, since the All-Star managers are the respective League Champion managers from the year before, they have a vested interest in the game because their teams are likely in contention again, and they want to have home field advantage. As such I am of the mind that they should very much manage to win the game.

Part of that starts before the game even begins, when the managers select their portion of the rosters. The managers should obviously be looking to put together the best teams possible. Player appeal, and watching these players trying to put on a show for a night, is what the All-Star game should probably be all about. But that can't be a major consideration when the game is as important to these managers as it is. They have to take the players that put them in the best position to win the game.

The one exception to this is when it's close between a few players and one of them is on your team. Then you take your player, even if he's not absolutely the best option. While managers have to try to win this game for (hopefully) the ultimate benefit of their team, they have to worry about their own team even more than that. Home field in the World Series does you know good if you can't get their, and to get their you need all of your players performing at the highest level possible. While most players would likely be professional enough to handle not being selected by their own manager, and while it likely has very little impact even if they are selected, why not take your guy?

Even if it only helps a little bit, managers only have to worry about their players every day, not everybody else's. Everybody likes to be named to the All-Star Game, even those that have been their a lot. Everybody also likes to feel like their manager is behind them and feels they are better than the competition at the same position on other teams. Even for players at this level, it has to be a feel good thing to make an All-Star team, and managers should use that to their advantage at every opportunity within reason by naming piking their players. It's called taking care of your own. This isn't a kumbaya session where it's all about being fair. This is baseball where it's all about winning.

That's why I was thrilled to see Joe Girardi take C.C. Sabathia. Not just because he is deserving, but also because since he is pitching Sunday, it also gives Andy Pettitte the opportunity to go, and he is more deserving than the other two Yankees' starters named in Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Same goes for Alex Rodriguez. With 62 RBI's he's hardly an undeserving choice, but there are others that are having better seasons thus far. Who cares. If they want to go, they can win the World Series. Good for Charlie Manuel for taking Ryan Howard too despite there being players having better seasons.

Going back to my original point about the importance of this game, managers have to keep this within reason because you want to win the game. If it's not close, you can't apply this thinking. Even more importantly, taking care of your players regarding the roster is one thing, giving them overly preferential treatment in the game is another. You have to go with the best players at the appropriate times to put your best foot forward to win the game. If those are players besides your own, tough luck. Outside of that, you can't have time for any of that noise about who should and shouldn't go, there are always going to be snubs. So may as well take care of your players and your team so long as it doesn't detract from your chances of winning the game.

3 comments:

jason said...

i thought this was going to be a post about infante making it, but it seemed to go ina different direction

the gm at work said...

"does you know good if you can't get their"

Please tell me you did that on purpose.

Hopefully people hold off on commenting about the snub of one of this year's top MVP contenders, instead using that time to vote for him in the final vote contest. I like Nick Swisher, but Youkilis deserves your vote. I will be writing about this later on this week.

Anonymous said...

PF

Girardi really had no choice but to take ARod over Youkilis. ARod's psyche is so fragile that not being selected to the All-Star Game could have potentially been wildly disastrous.

All Bandi-inspired snarkiness aside, Joe Girardi did what managers have always done: take their own for the All-Star Game. If it's close, hell even if it's not close (ARod is not close to Youkilis this year. For the record, this is not the first time this has ever happened, it won't be the last, and it's not indefensible) managers take their own guys in these situations. You just can't risk a player/manager rift down the stretch for any good team. And from what I've seen and read, not too many people are giving Girardi a hard time about his decision, and they shouldn't. The shame of it is that now it's left to chance for Youkilis to make the All-Star team when the reality is that there are maybe two or three guys who have been better than him this year.

--the Gunn