Favouritism Aside, Met All-Stars Are A Joke

It would be nice to be proud that despite a mediocre record hovering constantly near the break even point the Mets were able to get three players named to the All Star team. It would be nice to believe we deserved to have all three players named.

But let's face it. Rather than merit, we must instead thank that oft-perplexing phenomenon called fan voting, which has always been a puzzling mixture of hometown stupidity and misguided sentimentality.

Case in point: the National League's starting catcher, Mike Piazza.

You have to think this is owed to either a severe case of ballot box stuffing by overzealous Met fans or a national compendium of sentimentalists and hangers-on intent on giving credence to a player's past rather than his present. What other rationale could be given for making the laughingstock of the spaghetti-armed catcher's brigade the starting backstop for this year's National League team?

At least last season's selection, despite Piazza's miserable numbers and equally miserable defence, might have been defendable based upon a combination of his having just surpassed the all-time mark for homeruns by a catcher and the natural curiosity of wanting to see a Clemens-Piazza battery in the All Star game.

But this season offers no such excuses. Even Jason Phillips, the former Met backup catcher traded to the Dodgers earlier this season, is having a better season than Piazza, not to mention the Marlins' Paul Lo Duca, who at least made the team, Yadier Molina of the Cards and Ramon Hernandez of the Padres, who did not. That's four catchers in one breath more deserving than Piazza to start for the National League.

The vote is not supposed to be a referendum on potential Hall of Fame status, but a vote for who is deserving, based on current performance, who is an All Star. You don't keep naming Sophia Loren the World's Most Beautiful Woman 40 years past her prime simply because once she was the hottest biscuit in the oven, do you then?

Carlos Beltran is another anomaly in the starting lineup. Regardless of how much I look forward to seeing Beltran blossom, despite momentarily blinding superstar flashes, he hasn't yet blossomed, and certainly doesn't deserve to start in the outfield of the All Star team. Like Piazza's vote for his past, Beltran's vote seems to be for his future. The proof is in the fact that he isn't even having the best season of anyone in his own outfield.

Sadly, the best non-pitching Met and the only non-pitching Met deserving of All Star status is Cliff Floyd, the most notable Met absentee. Such is the off-key warbling of the vox populi

Of them all, the only Met deserving to be named to the All Star team who actually was, is Pedro and ironically, he is the one Met we don't really want to see in the All Star game since every pitch he throws therein is one less pitch in the arm for the Mets second half push for the NL Wildcard slot or better.

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