Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The answer comes on what's 'up!'

From some guy at the Morning News:
Dear Mr. Bloom,
Please allow me to apologize for the bad experience you had this morning with our commenting system. One of our assistants was working on the administrative tool we use to manage the system. He was testing various combinations of inappropriate words.
Of course, the words “cotton” and “up” have nothing sinister about them. But when they are connected to other words, they can occasionally cause problems for our customers. Our technician erroneously saved some changes to the system during the period when you were attempting to comment. He realized his mistake and undid the changes. But for a one- or two-hour window, an incorrect filter was being applied to new comments.
I hope you will not be dissuaded from leaving comments again in the future. I am interested in hearing how it goes – good, bad or indifferent – for you.
All the best,
John Granatino
Deputy Managing Editor/Interactive News & Information
Dallas Morning News
So I guess "up" was "down" and now will stick around...

Up, up and WHAT?!?!?

The following is too true NOT to believe and an actual email just sent:
Dear Mr. (editor Bob) Mong (of the Dallas Morning News),

As a reader who has, in the past, posted reactions to stories on various Dallas Morning News blog threads, I must ask, and then protest, the oft-ridiculous censorship of too many common English language words by whatever program you employ.
While I understand the need for civility in “open” discussion (communication one-on-one between two individuals is NOT the same as putting out comments for the whole world to see), whatever controls your paper’s blogs borders on the absurd.
Two examples:
1) The oldest athletic facility in Dallas is the Cotton Bowl; yet that word “cotton” is considered “inappropriate” language for Morning News blogs. So exactly HOW does one refer to the game, the stadium or the fabric by which most clothing apparel is derived? Exactly how is “cotton” inappropriate?
2) The blog will not accept the word “up.” I don’t know HOW this is inappropriate, but it is deemed to be. So I can never use the phrases “up-and-down,” “up and back,” “up in the air,” “up, up and away,” “up the street” or anything with this two-letter combination because someone, somewhere, somehow … has programmed your website to state “inappropriate.”
Screw, on the other hand, when used outside the concept of nuts and bolts, is allowed.
Perhaps it would be best for readers to be informed of ALL such “inappropriate” words (outside the obvious profanity and epithets) that will be censored in order to properly adjust when responding through the website’s blogs. At least, I’d like to see it.
Charles Bloom
Plano TX

Monday, July 26, 2010

Small announcement

For the foreseeable future, I will be "retiring" from column writing on a monthly basis with the Dallas Morning News.
I do this for personal reasons, which will remain, for the time being, ... personal.
I will post on this blog when something strikes my fancy.
But for now, I am putting that other part of me aside.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Old stars never fade away

From today's Washington Post TV column:
Just in the nick of time, HBO announced Wednesday it had picked up a new drama series called "Luck," about the world of horse racing, which will star Dustin Hoffman and the pilot of which was written by David Milch and directed by Michael Mann, who are executive-producing the project. HBO needed a big scripted-series announcement. Last week, when the Primetime Emmy Award nominations were unveiled, HBO once again had scooped up the most noms by far -- 101, to be exact -- but only three major choices were for TV series work: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is up for best comedy and best comedy actor, and "True Blood" is up for best drama.
Imagine that! Dustin Hoffman is part of a TV series...even if it IS on HBO. Who's next? Gene Hackman (Hoffman's one-time NYC roommate)? Redford? Harrison Ford? DeNiro? Pacino? Nicholson?
Only if they NEED the work.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cliff Lee trade: Rangers’ history of first round draft choices highly unsuccessful

For the baseball team with the most financial problems and uncertainty going into the future, the Texas Rangers were able to bag the summer’s top trading deadline deal by obtaining left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee, a former Cy Young winner, from Seattle for four prospects (including one MLB starter).
However, the question to be asked is: at what price? Lee is a rental; he will NOT sign in the winter to pitch for Texas because the club won’t have the money (it’s involved deeply in bankruptcy proceedings between prospective owners, disgruntled debt holders and idiot ownership).
And the trade continues a trend by the Rangers of sacrificing first-round draft choices for little in return. Lee could be what Philadelphia hoped last season, leading the Phillies to the World Series…or be like Randy Johnson when the Astros got him in 1998 for the second half run (won the division) but did not make it to the World Series … and mortgaged its future in the process (losing Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia and John Halama).
The Rangers have yet to write the story of this season but an examination of its past is noteworthy.
Since 1998, when Texas chose Carlos Pena, who stars NOW for Tampa Bay, out of Northeastern University in Boston with the 10th overall selection, most of Texas’ first-round selections are either with other teams or out of baseball completely.
Here’s the list:
1999 – Colby Lewis, RHP, Bakersfield College, 38th selection, College, rejoined Rangers this season after spending a few years refining his game in Japan; Mike Head, RHP, Soddy Daisy (Tenn.) HS, 47th selection, out of baseball
2000 – Scott Heard, C, Rancho Bernardo (San Diego, Calif.) HS, 25th selection; Tyrell Godwin, OF, North Carolina, 35th selection; Chad Hawkins, RHP, Baylor, 39th selection – all three out of baseball
2001 – Mark Teixeira, 3B, Georgia Tech, 5th overall selection, played for Rangers at 1B until 2007 when he was traded to Atlanta in multi-player deal; now with New York Yankees and only draft choice since Kevin Brown in 1986 to win a World Series title (one of three Rangers’ draftees – the other being Ron Darling, drafted in 1980)
2002 – Drew Meyer, SS, South Carolina, 10th selection, now playing with Triple-A Salt Lake City (LA Angels); has never played in MLB
2003 – John Danks, LHP, Round Rock (Tex.) HS, traded to Chicago White Sox for Brandon McCarthy, who is on injured list (Danks is 39-40 in three seasons with White Sox and considered a solid number 3 starter)
2004 – Thomas Diamond, RHP, University of New Orleans, 10th selection, out of baseball; Eric Hurley, RHP, Wolfson (Jacksonville, Fla.) HS, 30th selection, with Double-A Frisco (Texas farm team)
2005 – John Mayberry Jr., OF, Stanford, 19th selection, now playing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley (New York Yankees)
2006 – Kasey Kiker, LHP, Russell County (Ala.) HS, 12th selection, with Double-A Frisco (Texas farm team)
2007 – Blake Beaven, RHP, 17th selection, traded to Seattle in the Cliff Lee transaction; Michael Main, RHP, DeLand (Fla.) HS, 24th selection, traded to San Francisco in Bengie Molina deal, now with Double-A Richmond
2008 – Justin Smoak, 1B, 11th selection, traded to Seattle in the Cliff Lee transaction
2009 – Matt Purke, LHP, 14th selection, unsigned, attending Texas Christian University
In fact, those actually ON the Rangers’ active roster were supplemental picks, compensation for losing free agents the season prior. They include centerfielder Julio Borbon (35th selection in 2007 out of University of Tennessee) and pitcher Tommy Hunter (54h selection in 2007 out of University of Alabama) … and that’s IT!
The top choice for Texas in 1996, R.A. Dickey another Tennessee product), is in the rotation for the New York Mets after reworking his entire career by going to a knuckleball.
Last year’s supplemental first-round pick, Tanner Scheppers, is being nursed along at such a slow pace (only 60 innings in 19 appearances and he is a STARTER?!?), it isn’t known when he will be in the Rangers’ plan despite sitting at AAA Oklahoma City.
The third supplemental pick from 2007, pitcher Neil Ramirez, has not advanced above Single A Hickory while Borbon and Hunter are in their second seasons in The Show.
Such is the history of the Texas baseball Rangers. The Teixeira trade with Atlanta was one of the best in franchise history, bringing current All-Stars Elvis Andrus (SS) and Neftali Feliz (closer) plus starter Matt Harrison (spotty career at best) and catcher-1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a major disappointment who probably is not in the Rangers’ future plans –at least not at the present with a major throwing issue.
But Teixiera did help the Braves make the playoffs, as he did the following year as a free agent signing with the Angels and then with the Yankees. Pena, the “future” first baseman back in 1996, spent a journeyman career with Texas, Detroit and Oakland before catching fire in Tampa and leading the Rays to the 2008 World Series.
The Lee acquisition should prove positive for Texas, but as was demonstrated in his debut Saturday night, the Ballpark is a jet stream to the alleys in the summer heat. Even lousy hitting teams like Baltimore can get lucky and Arlington has been Lee’s un-friendliest confines to pitch. Unless he can consistently throw ground ball outs, he CAN be somewhat hittable.
But it was a hoot to see The Anointed One (by the Dallas media) outdueled completely by a 22-year-old rookie for the O’s – Chris Tillman. Losing three in a row to Baltimore should take some starch out of the Rangers’ collars going into the All-Star break.
Only time, and the vicious summer weather in North Texas (the worst in the major leagues in terms of heat and wear-and-tear), will decide if this trade pays off. With the ownership question as muddied as the Gulf of Mexico from the BP spill, it appears that the Rangers management is very much mortgaging the future to win this season … because no one knows exactly what will happen NEXT season. Hell, there’s no guarantee the franchise even stays in North Texas. You just never know and predicting the future in Arlington is not a wise thing.
P.S. – Lee wearing a Rangers uniform to that game doesn’t seem proper; his selection was based on his Mariner outings – not Texas. It’s just wrong.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Miami wins LeBron sweepstakes

I'll make this short and sweet: LeBron James' choice of the Miami Heat to play basketball for the next 5-6 years is great for South Beach but bad, overall, for the NBA. The concentration of so much talent, for so ridiculous of a price, does NOT insure a NBA for LBJ, or improve on the man's "legacy" or "marketability."
What it has done, plus the sign-and-trade of former Dallas high school star Chris Bosh and the resigning (for the maximum dollar amount) of Dwayne Wade, is make a mockery of the league's salary cap and free agent system; emasculate the NBA owners' bitching about out-of-control salary structure and destroy the franchises in Toronto and Cleveland and other cities (LA Clippers, for example, might as well give up NOW).
It says that money, not the draft, is the ONLY way to success and the more that is spent, the greater chance of championships. Hopefully, every NBA fan, outside of South Florida, will root against that notion and against the Heat.
Unlike baseball, where dynasties have centered on 2-3 teams, and MLB has often been about the Yankees and everyone else, the NBA has benefitted from a sense of parody among teams, involving more fans in other cities for a chance at victory. True, the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics have won the last four titles but each squad has remade itself and only gotten better through smart drafting (the Boston triplets aren't as comparable to the Heat new trio).
But no one in Cleveland or Toronto has a reason to attend a home game, other than to go boo the Miami roster. The death march is on for both franchises and it would NOT shock me if either moved or changed ownership ASAP.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Miami will win a damn thing. It would be a sort of cruel justice if it never happened because this is NOT a natural fit. Just because they played well together on the Olympic squad does not mean it transfers to an 82-game schedule plus the playoffs. Miami has no center, no backup point guard or shooters - and to get some will only come at minimum salary offerings. Meaning the scrap heap.
The NBA is a better product when there are stars spread among almost ALL its teams - not merely concentrated on 2-3 squads. Ultimately, it de-legitimizes the regular season and cheapens results.
So pardon me if I don't get excited. Good luck Mr. James and company; I hope it doesn't work out.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It’s MY castle; not an HOA’s

Author’s Note: This is the original, unabridged version of the column published in the July 4 edition of Community Opinions, the Dallas Morning News.
“A man’s home is his castle,” a well-worn adage, is heard more often than “the check’s in the mail” or “I’ll call you back later.” Sadly, in some cases, it’s a statement as untrue as any uttered among us.
Some state laws hold that concept to be true; it’s your castle if an unwanted intruder invaded your property with a gun in hand and you use your legally-registered weapon to defend yourself – even with lethal force. Even anti-gun advocates have understood such thinking. But when the intruder goes through the courts and takes the property with a pen, it’s NOT your castle and you have little say about it. After all, because of various factors (such as the all-mighty dollar), it’s acceptable behavior.
The very existence of homeowner associations should be outlawed in Texas, but, because of the overwhelming influence of major political donors (including major Texas homebuilders, who create the HOAs), we’re left to read about such travesties that befell the Clauer family of Frisco.
Their $315,000 home, which was mortgage-free, was sold out from under them (for $150,000, but really for around $3,200) by their HOA (Heritage Hills) because the family was past due on its HOA “dues.” Mind you, the utilities, taxes and other basic debts were current, but that didn’t matter. And the head of the household was serving in Iraq at the time (compounding the tragedy by moving this story to a despicable level).
Personally, I don’t want to hear one peep from HOA defenders about unread notices and “she should’ve known better.” Hey, you have a spouse (National Guard Capt. Michael Clauer) go to a foreign land and put his/her life in danger every hour and see how well you deal with that stress! Only the most callous among you would spout “a deal is a deal.” How cold-blooded can you and the HOA be? It’s just a “club,” albeit on steroids; and clubs – non-taxing, non-governmental entities, like an HOA – shouldn’t have the power of foreclosure – period! Even in federal bankruptcy, one’s home is protected, but not from predatory practices and collusion between overbearing HOAs and the kind of home flippers scheming to “get rich quick” by making such deals. According to the Morning News (June 28, 2010 edition), the same buyer and new owner (Mark Disani and Jad Aboul-Jibin) have teamed up on several occasions, all involving the same HOA. As they say, near the bay, something smells fishy here.
These practices should be illegal under federal fair housing laws. To force someone to sign such an HOA pact, or else be barred from lawfully purchasing that property, is blatant discrimination.
Grosse Pointe, one of the more exclusive suburbs of Detroit, once employed a “numbers” system for homebuyers. If one had too many “points” in the disclosure process (and the highest amounts were reserved for “objectionable” area such as race and religion in their version of a credit rating), the sale would not be approved. It was done simply to keep “those kinds of people” out of the neighborhood for no other reason than skin color or who worshiped where. It’s being repeated all across Texas.
“Pay up or else” is not in the spirit of what this country, or state, should be about. Such attitudes and practices are immoral and unethical, but apparently very Texan. I hope the Clauers regain their home and other citizens become enraged enough to force their legislators to change the law and begin favoring the average homeowner over rich homebuilders.
Perhaps the Tea Partiers should direct their considerable anger where it needs to go – those living their neighboring castles!
The following is an addendum, further explaining my position on HOAs and other notes concerning this situation.
Simply put – foreclosure for nonpayment of “dues” should be outlawed; a lien would be acceptable. But to be able to take action because someone’s truck has a sticker on it, or there’s a boat someone else doesn’t like, or a political sign is placed in a yard supporting an unpopular candidate (which have ALL happened in this state) in totally immoral.
Under NO circumstances should an HOA be allowed to foreclose on a property it does not own and it owns nothing. An HOA is just an ASSOCIATION; but in Texas, such overreaching powers exist.
People really need to see how all that money spread in Austin – ALL for Republicans – buys lots of influence and a good amount of favored laws. Since the homebuilders established the subdivision and all its frills and whistles; IT should retain some measure of responsibility for what it created. God knows they made enough money off a fully built-out plan and in some cases, enough funds to grease the palms of every politico.
I believe each individual owner has the right to do with his/her property what they wish to do with it, barring violation of city/county codes. They PAID for that right and freedom. And forcing someone to sign an HOA and fork over MORE, just to live at that property, than the sale price is discrimination.
Some of the responses I received by e-mail simply demonstrated the kind of blindness that comes with too much suburban excess and the concept that their “world” is the only one that exists ... or should exist. To ask me who, but for the poor little HOA, will clean pools or cut grass or provide street lights (isn’t that the city’s job?) or maintain anything when homes are being seized over DUES is laughable to me. These are the same people who think that dropping a can at a food drive will actually SOLVE hunger or homelessness and that they’ve “done something.” They have NO clue.
What’s more important? Pools and perfectly-mowed grass OR the emotional protection of a family and the physical protection of this country? Barking dogs and junk cars and a boat? ALL of that should be, and is ALWAYS, covered by code and standards are set forth by the governing city. What the HOA does is duplication in that area and adding FAR more restrictive caveats that more often than not become personal intrusions above an individual’s freedom and liberties.
Golf course fees should go toward course maintenance, not some nebulous DUES. As for pools, if I were to use that facility, I’d pay for the privilege; if I don’t want to pay, I don’t get to use it. But it should NOT be forced upon me!
And I’m SOOOOOOOO tired of hearing about how this and that affects “property values” – the single most over-used politically correct term improperly employed these days. Scores of other factors determine value, and ONLY matters when the property comes up for sale. Otherwise it’s meaningless if you plan to live there for a long period of time. At THAT point, time determines value.
As to this particular situation some added thoughts:
Certified mail is too flimsy of a notification method. The law only stipulates that a certified letter be SENT, but acknowledgement of receipt is NOT required by law (which is strictly ass-backwards). Meaning all that must be done is to send a letter and nothing stating it has to be received. And with the history of the postal service, delivery is NOT guaranteed nor is notification all that prevalent. I NEVER get a notice that a package is waiting at my local postal office if and when an unsuccessful delivery attempt has been made (hence I have NO knowledge of such an attempt).
While it might be seen, at best, as distasteful to profit from someone else’s misery, house flipping is not illegal. DiSanti is probably a student/graduate of all those infomercials on getting rich through real estate which LAUD such practices as home flipping foreclosed properties. If he bought and sold four homes with the same profit margin, he made around $500,000 in just that short amount of time. All those mousse-haired geeks with the trophy wives and huge yachts did the same damn thing and it is all OK because homebuilders WANT it that way.
Of course, not everything can be auto-debited; hell, my electrical provider requires a written check. Makes no sense but it happens that way. Perhaps the HOA in question doesn’t do that and there could be other undisclosed reasons why the Clauers were behind on dues.
And none of the responders bothered to hold an ounce of sympathy for the wife, suffering from depression, probably rendering her unable to properly function. How sad that there’s no empathy when their spouse is in a place where he can be killed at a moment’s notice. The real pathetic part is how none of the neighbors seemed to give a shit about this family. Shameful!
Yes, the military component IS important and no one has bothered to ask this: why were the Clauers behind on “dues?” Could that have been military-related too? But all the HOA defenders completely missed my point! You cannot STEAL someone’s property over unpaid DUES.
Because HOA boards are NOT subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act, because “public money” is not involved, exactly HOW do homeowners get informed about meetings? Boards are NOT then required to publicize such meetings, adhere to quorums, etc., or even conduct business in a “legal” or ethical fashion. Frankly, most people don’t know HOW to hold a proper meeting. And once the homebuilder exits and leaves the subdivision to its “owners,” what if things change? Like the economy? Or standards? etc.
If homeowners wish to gather ... voluntarily ... to make their community better by voluntarily agreeing to maintaining a level of standards, that’s fine. To seize someone’s house goes beyond the pale.
To force agreement to HOA membership before permitting purchase is clearly blatant discrimination – it’s a way to PREVENT certain people from buying homes in certain places. It has become obvious to me that this is a way to skirt the federal Fair Housing Act and it should be outlawed.
This is NOT an isolated case; there have been other foreclosures in other communities with service personnel overseas. While space limited the discussion as printed in the Morning News, there is an awful smell of collusion between the HOA (or its management firm), the home flipper and new home owner – the fourth such flip within this HOA involving ALL those parties.
Finally, all politics are truly local. The now-famous Tea Party movement gets practically rabid about matters in Washington over which it has almost no control. BUT ... matters closer to home – such as runaway budgets within school districts, ridiculous salaries paid to administrators, lack of amenities for municipalities, local highway repairs and construction, tolling free roadways, etc. and, yes, HOAs – don’t seem to grab the same headlines or study time.
Yet local citizens and local voting would have a far greater impact upon peoples’ lives than the outcome of a single state representative race. That is why this issue – a man’s control over his OWN property – should become a Tea Party priority. If it would, I’d have more respect for such a movement unless ... the Tea Partiers and the HOAs enablers are one and the same.
But it doesn’t change my stance on HOAs; they are a pox upon society – a symbol of suburbia gone mad. Foreclosure is immoral, akin to outright thievery, and should and MUST be outlawed in this state which professes to love liberty and freedom so much.
It’s time for homeowners to be heard and followed instead of rich homebuilders.

Monday, July 05, 2010

All-Star selections still need refining

Same time, every year; same complaint, every year. In one week, the annual baseball All-Star game will be played (this time in Anaheim), and the same complaints are heard about who is and who isn’t a member of each league’s roster.
To baseball fans, it matters because this all-star affair actually IS a game with a determinable outcome, often with spectacular plays and with something tangible (although it should not be) on the line.
Let’s go with what we know. Here is the starting lineup for the National League:
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis; Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis; Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia; David Wright, 3B, New York Mets; Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida; Ryan Braun, Milwaukee, Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta, Andre Ethier, Los Angeles.
Utley is injured and will not participate in the game, replaced by Atlanta’s Martin Prado.
Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel chose an entire staff of right-handers (except for 40-year-old Arthur Lee Rhodes of Cincinnati, making it as a sentimental first-time All-Star choice in his 20th season), including starters Roy Halladay, Philadelphia, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, St. Louis, Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee, Tim Hudson, Atlanta, Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado, Josh Johnson, Florida, Tim Lincecum, San Francisco, and relievers Matt Capps, Washington, Evan Meek, Pittsburgh, Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Brain Wilson, San Francisco.
The reserves are Brian McCann, C, Atlanta; Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia; Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, San Diego; shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado (but he’s injured and was replaced by New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes); Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati; Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincinnati; outfielders Michael Bourn, Houston, Marlon Byrd, Chicago Cubs, Corey Hart, Milwaukee, Matt Holliday, St. Louis, Chris Young, Arizona, and utility player Omar Infante, Atlanta.
The American League starters (with one addition at DH) are:
Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota; Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota; Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees; Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees; Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay; outfielders Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle, Josh Hamilton, Texas, Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay; and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, Texas.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi picked 13 hurlers (five lefties) including starters CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes of the Yankees, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester from Boston, Trevor Cahill of Oakland, Fausto Carmona of Cleveland, Cliff Lee of Seattle, David Price of Tampa Bay, and relievers Neftali Feliz, Texas, Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox, Joakim Soria, Kansas City, Jose Valverde, Detroit, and, of course, Mariano Rivera, Yankees.
Reserves include Victor Martinez, C, Boston (injured and replaced by John Buck, Toronto); Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit; Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston (also injured and replaced by Ian Kinsler of Texas); Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas; Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees, Adrian Beltre, 3B, Boston; designated hitter David Ortiz, Boston; outfielders Torri Hunter, Los Angeles Angels, Vernon Wells and Jose Bautista, Toronto, and utility infielder Ty Wigginton, Baltimore.
Now … this selection process is made complicated by three factors – all teams MUST have at least one (1) representative on the All-Star team; injuries that have removed certain players from the game, forcing the managers to make alternative picks (often leaving deserving players at home) and the expansion of rosters by Major League Baseball in order to force a winner of the affair (because World Series home field is stupidly at stake).
This year, there is a FOURTH factor – any pitcher throwing on Sunday before the All-Star Game can’t pitch in the Mid-Summer Classic. So even MORE last second replacements will be named, further watering down the honor.
That said, several injustices have taken place. The fans’ selections, for the most part, are laudable – no complaints there except for Jason Heyward, who shouldn’t start but should be on the squad.
There are too many unforgiveable snubs and here’s who they are:
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati – Yes I know there are too many good first basemen in the National League (and junior circuit as well), but with the Reds’ success, Votto is a legitimate MVP candidate. If an All-Star team cannot make room for the Vottos of the game, it ain’t worth playing.
Mat Latos/Heath Bell, pitchers, San Diego – Let me see; the best pitching staff in MLB has NO representatives on it? Absurd. Both need to be on the staff instead of Meek (but no Pirate deserves a thing) and (yes) Tim Lincecum (his 2010 stats don’t measure up to Latos OR Bell).
Mike Pelfrey, SP, Mets – Add Pelfrey, at 10-2, 2.93 ERA and 1.29 WHIP to the list. It will take an injury or Sunday start to shoehorn his way into the game.
Juan Uribe, INF, SF – Uribe is at least a full-time starter at three different infield slots (3B, SS, 2B). Infante doesn’t even play full-time and his selection is the cruelest joke of them all!!!!!! His choice denigrates the entire affair.
Andy Pettitte, SP, Yankees – Unless he begged off the list, no way Pettitte should NOT have been included, even if it meant four Yankees on the staff. They ALL deserve it, far above either Clay Buchholz OR Jon Lester of the Red Sox (pick one, but not both).
Jered Weaver, SP, Angels – This guy leads the AL in strikeouts with 124 and is carrying the entire team, pitching-wise, and keeping the Halos in the AL West chase. He is 8-3, 2.82 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Unjustifiable that he is NOT an All-Star. He might make it because Buchholz is about to go on the DL.
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels – Kendrick (7 HRs, 50 RBI, .271) should have been the replacement for Pedroia, not Texas’ Kinsler, who only began HIS season in June. Another sham!
Brennan Boesch, OF, Detroit – I could make a good argument for teammate Magglio Ordonez, but this Tiger rookie is smashing up the AL with a .345 average, 12 HRs and 46 RBI … all since May! He’s the runaway winner for Rookie of the Year and deserves inclusion.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B-3B, Boston – Another major injustice! Sorry, Adrian Beltre is having a fine season but Youkilis is an MVP candidate … AGAIN! Look at Boston’s injury situation and the constant remains Youkilis, who should be on the roster, period, instead of David Ortiz! That’s a crime.
Again, there’s a week to go and there will be several players begging OFF and bowing out due to injury. Perhaps there can be some justice but it will be second-rate.