So you think it's special being named an All-Star? It's not what you used to think.
Because of rosters that have expanded (again), a new rule that calls for replacements for pitchers that start Sunday and assorted injuries, the number of players named as All-Stars already has climbed to 75 -- with another week still remaining for more replacements to be necessary.
So let's say the final number comes in at 77 All-Stars. Now consider that last season there were 259 players who qualified for the batting or ERA titles or saved 30 games -- a loose definition of a "regular" player. That means that about 30 percent of all regular players wind up being All-Stars. And we still don't have Joey Votto, Jered Weaver or Colby Rasmus among the merry band of 77.
But we do have Omar Infante, who apparently is so valuable the NL wants him around because they might put him in the game not just once, but twice!
(And I refuse to include setup relievers here. It is a specialty job for guys who can't start or finish games -- important, but too far down the spectrum of pitching importance to take roster spots from those who do well with the heavy lifting. Utility players, setup guys . . . stop the "specialized" madness before the best pinch hitters and nachos vendors are getting All-Star gigs.)
Well, if you're tired of the roster nonsense, you've come to the right place. You have entered a no-nonsense zone. Here are true All-Star teams: one guy at each position (and yes, the three outfield spots are unique positions, not a generic "outfield," and the NL now always needs a DH in the game), regardless of whether he's popular, is a default choice to make sure somebody goes from his team, or plays for one of the game's managers.
I included the ages here because all but two of my 20 picks are between 23 and 31 -- further evidence of the game's emphasis of young players. And of these 20 picks as the best at their positions, five of them have not even been picked for the game in Anaheim.
So if you act now, you'll get 20 All-Stars, and if you call in the next 15 minutes, we'll make you an All-Star, too -- with a place on the foul line for introductions right next to the great Omar Infante.