Confession time: I’m a total loser and all I think about (outside of my family) is sports.
And since it’s baseball season and my favorite drink during the summer months is a nice, chilled “Orange Koolaid” beverage, my attention is squarely on the Orioles. So while I was watching my five-year old son play soccer I thought about how many potential Orioles could grace Citi Field with their presence come Tuesday July 16th. Here are my thoughts.
It’s almost a lock that the captain and leader of the Birds, Adam Jones, will be patrolling center field for the American League, based on his position in the votes as of now.This is a deserving nomination for my fellow San Diego native and shows that his talents are being seen from coast to coast now.
Chris Davis is another lock to start at 1st base. Davis “crushed” his 28th bomb last night (4th in the 7th inning this season) and is hitting .333 and has 72 RBI’s. But it’s been his stellar play in the field that has “almost” impressed me most. My boy Chris Tillman (more on him later) should buy him lunch for a week just based on his performance last night.
J.J. Hardy has been on fire in June. Maybe because of that or because Orioles nation is killing it on the Internet/stuffing the ballot boxes at Yards, he leads the Tigers Johnny Peralta by over 700K votes for the starting AL SS position. The “Hardy Party” has raised his average to .265 with 15 bombs and 45 RBI’s. But its his .972 fielding % (only 6 errors in 318 chances) that makes him an All-Star starter, IMO.
If there was one guy that I wish I had the juice to put on the team, it would be Nick Markakis. But I might not have to as he is currently sitting in 3rd place among AL outfielders, but only less than 1K ahead of Jose Bautista.
Listen Orioles Nation, I pray that you put this Orioles lifer on your ballot every time you vote. No one deserves this career achievement more than him.
If it wasn’t for Miguel Cabrera being the second coming of Jimmy Foxx, then our 20-yr-old phenom Manny Machado would have the 3rd base position on lock down. Machado has surpassed any Orioles diehards expectations and if he isn’t selected by that chain smoking Jim Leyland as a reserve, I’m going to go Aaron Hernandez on someone (too soon).
Another way he could get there is the new “fan vote” where 5 players are selected to be voted on after the starters are announced. Either way, Manny goes to his first of many All Star games.
A lightning rod in the 410 area code is Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. His lackluster performance at the plate (.228/10/38) isn’t exactly Mike Piazza. I get it, Nestor.
But what he does behind the plate can’t be measured by seam-heads doing sabermetrics in their moms basement (no offense, Zach). Ever heard of the quote, “Don’t ever run”? This guy who was touted as “Jesus in Cleats” is one of the most important players on the Orioles roster and if not voted in as a starter, will probably be added as a reserve.
As those one-hit wonders, Semisonic sang, “Closing Time”, it’s time we talk about Orioles closer Jim Johnson.
Yes, I’m “that guy” who wrote on this amazing site that the closer position is the most over rated in sports today. But if you have to take one or two for the AL Star game, then Johnson should be one of them.
Of course, Mo Rivera is going. Not just because he’s the greatest of all time and has been almost flawless again this year after missing almost all of last season. But because he is retiring at the end of the season and a la Cal Ripken, will get the invite. But after that, who? Joe Nathan? Addison Reed?
Please, as Dikembe Mutombo says “get that weak stuff out of here”. Johnson deserves it.
Finally, this is where my Orange Koolaid drink is just a bit spiked. But please hear me out. After last nights win over Cleveland, Chris Tillman is 9-2 with a respectable sub 4 ERA (1.30 WHIP) pitching in the AL East. And outside of maybe Miguel Gonzalez has been the Orioles most consistent starting pitcher (not exactly saying much, but truth). He is 6-0 on the road and hasn’t lost a start since Preakness weekend (May 19th).
I understand his pitch counts have been maddening at times and he always seems to say after starts that, “I just didn’t have my good stuff tonight“. But numbers don’t lie and based on those Tillman should be at least considered for a spot on the AL roster, IMO. Here comes the tweets.
So if my fuzzy math does play out, then the Orioles would have a Yankee/Red Sox-like eight guys on the A.L. All-Star squad. And if you include the fact that Davis will probably be entered into the HR Derby, you might say that this All Star break could be worth the watch even with Chris Berman trying to ruin it with his tired, old schtick.
Plus, the winner of the actual game gives the home-field to the World Series participant….I’m not saying, I’m just saying…
Follow Jabby Burns on Twitter, @JabbyBurns