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Whadda ya know, Joe?

GRANT'S TOMB:

July 06, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

The first real job I had was soliciting donations for the local police charities. I had gotten the job shortly after graduating from high school and I remember the thing that bothered me most about having to go to work was I was going to have to miss that year's All-Star game.

So as my best friends gathered to watch the "mid-summer classic," I was stuck calling people on the phone, asking if they wanted to make a donation.

While my memories of youth are often dark, this particular one makes me wish I had another job that might require me to work Tuesday night. You see, after the ridiculous spin New York Yankees manager Joe Torre has put on this year's game, I simply have no desire to watch.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Joe seems to do this each and every year he is given the privilege of selecting the American League All-Star squad. Unfortunately for the average baseball fan, Joe gets the opportunity to select the AL All-Star team quite often as it seems his Yankees are usually winning the World Series and baseball tradition states the managers of the teams that make it to the World Series get to select their league's all-stars. Thus, each year we are stuck with the Andy Pettites, Mike Stantons and Bernie Williamses of the world taking spots from more deserving players.

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Time and again the All-Star Game is referred to as the fans' game. The fans select the starting lineups, which makes me wonder why they don't get to choose the reserves as well? At least it would stop Joe's diabolical plan to make us all think the Yankees are an All-Star squad. The votes are already there, so why not just take the top six outfielders, the top two first basemen, etc. etc?

This would mean having to let the fans vote for pitchers as well, but I've never understood why that's not an option as it is. Of course this would all make ol' Joe a bit upset and I doubt it would do much for his boss, George Steinbrenner, either, but at least it would return the game to the fans.

As for the fans, I've got a bit of a gripe with them as well. What's with Cal Ripken constantly being selected as the American League starting third baseman? The guy is hitting about .200 and doesn't even play every day. Has anyone out there ever heard of Troy Glaus? The Anaheim Angel power source is on his way to a 40 home run, 40 double season, yet he can't beat old man Cal out for the starting job at the hot corner? Give me a break.

Sometimes I think maybe good ol' Joe is controlling more than just the American League reserves. Sometimes I think that he spends all his off time in front of his computer casting ballots on the Internet.

Of course there are other areas of concern for this game. The whole Internet ballot thing seems to lend itself to stuffing the ballot box, but I guess that point is moot. And Joe Torre isn't the only manager who picks his own players, he's just the most blatant about it.

Which brings me back to just letting the fans vote for all the players or, perhaps let the manager of the worst team in baseball manage the All-Star squads. Hey, at least they'd get a shot at seeing how having a decent team feels.

I guess, however, that no matter what is done, this All-Star game thing is not something that can be easily fixed. Which makes me think that the only good thing about it is that I know I don't have to watch.

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