Friday, July 10, 2009

The Break

We're headed into the all-star break and Major League Baseball has announced that the final vote winners for the 33-man rosters are Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League and Brandon Inge of the Detroit Tigers for the American League. Certainly Shane Victorino's post-season heroics bought him Philly fan votes and as I've said from the get-go, Brandon Inge deserves to be in the all-star game Tuesday. The MLB announced today that replacements for the injured Carlos Beltran and Torii Hunter will be Jayson Werth (pictured, upper right) and Nelson Cruz. Jayson Werth is an amazing talent and though this places the Phillies prominently around the diamond for the NL roster, he is very deserving of this choice. Of course, I'm biased because he's the only player keeping my fantasy team afloat...

Beginning tomorrow we'll see festivites in St. Louis pick up steam. An all-star charity concert headlined by Sheryl Crow will take place in downtown St. Louis. The MLB Futures Game will take place Sunday night in St. Louis (while the Cardinals are taking on the Cubs), the State Farm Home Run Derby will be telecast Monday night, and the big finale 2009 All-Star Game will take place Tuesday night at Busch Stadium and televised on Fox.

Speaking of my fantasy team, if Chipper Jones can't get healthy and start hitting for power, I'm not sure I can keep him in the lineup. Something tells me the move today to send Georgia-born Jeff Franceour to the Mets, bringing Ryan Church to Atlanta isn't going to bode well for Chipper getting some time off. That on top of Escobar's antics and Kelly Johnson on the DL. Who knew Martin Prado would become the steadiest bat in the Braves lineup?

While on the topic of baseball, I read something yesterday about soon to be inducted Hall-of-Famer Ricky Henderson that I wanted to mention. Henderson, who was voted into Cooperstown his first eligible year, will be honored by his old club the Oakland A's in August, just a week after his induction ceremony at Cooperstown. His number, 24, will be retired the A's to honor the 10-time all-star. What I found so impressive about the article is what Ricky had to say in response to the news that the A's would be retiring his number:
"When I was a kid growing up in Oakland, I could never have imagined this happening. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Oakland Athletics organization for retiring my No. 24. I would like to thank Jackie Robinson for opening the gates and allowing me to be [able] to play the game of baseball. I would like to thank my family, friends and fans for their loyal support over all these years. This honor is for them as well."
Before his friends, family and fans, he thanked the one and only Jackie Robinson for breaking the color barrier in baseball. I thought that was incredibly admirable and very commendable of Henderson. If there is one thing I really enjoy about the all-star break it is that so many players take the honor as an opportunity to thank the people who got them there.

CREDIT: "Jackie Robinson, in Kansas City Monarchs uniform." Photograph, Call (Kansas City), 1945. By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s, Library of Congress.)

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