Rarely does the best player on the best team in baseball not even come close to making the All-Star team, and rarer still would be a case where such a snub was deserved. But when that player in question is just coming off a mandatory and lengthy suspension for violating the game's drug policy, the only true reaction to his absence must be: thank goodness.
Here are some other quick thoughts on the All-Star Game rosters.
• Despite the presence of 42-year-old All-Star rookie
• The star power remains concentrated in the AL East. The Red Sox (six players), Yankees (three), Rays (four), Blue Jays (2) and Orioles (1) combined for 16 spots -- or half the overall total -- on the American League roster, by far the most of any division in baseball. Part of this is due to the fact that an AL East mamanger (Tampa Bay's
• As the American League attempts to extend its unbeaten streak in All-Star play to 13, it will have an edge in experience, at least among position players. Every AL starter is an All-Star game veteran, while two NL players -- catcher
• The AL roster is very well balanced, which could come in handy in an NL ballpark that will see numerous double-switches and pinch-hitting moves. Virtually every AL reserve is capable of handling another position. Indians catcher
• By contrast, the NL roster is not nearly s flexible. For starters, there are three first baseman on the bench. Manager
• Left-handed relief pitchers are supposed to be baseball's version of cockroaches, species that will live forever, but there is only one among the 10 relief pitchers picked for the All-Star Game, and once again, it could provide a boost to the American League.
• There may be no more telling indicator of the Chicago Cubs' struggles than this: last year they sat comfortably in first place in the NL Central and were rewarded with seven All-Stars, including three starters. This year, they are struggling along with a .500 record and have just one: Lilly. In fact, despite enjoying the most condensed pennant race of the year (all six teams are within seven games of first), the NL Central produced just 10 All-Stars, the fewest of any division in the NL.
• The list of snubs always makes for interesting discussion, but the expanded rosters make it increasingly difficult to find truly deserving players who have been left out. The Tigers'