In 1997 Major League Baseball in conjunction with then the Classic Sports Network, today ESPN Classic, choose what was called the Major League Baseball All-Time Team.
The so-called all-time team was announced as part of the events around the 1997 All-Star Game at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the Cleveland Indians of the American League.
Among names of the team selection were Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Roger Hornsby, Mike Schmidt, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and many more of the greats of the game.
However, not even one Latino.
Beyond belief in an all-star game that every run scored and RBI made in the game was by a Latino player. Home runs were hit by Edgar Martinez and Sandy Alomar Jr. and the only run of the National League was a homer by then-Atlanta Brave Javy Lopez. The game was won by then-Royal Jose Rosado and saved by Yankee Mariano Rivera.
Many columns have been written about the new Arizona immigration law and all the sparks of a 2011 All-Star boycott. Players such as Yovani Gallardo and Joakim Soria said in Anaheim they are firm in their beliefs. Even if they are fortunate enough to make the All-Star team again next summer, they will skip it.
I’m not into politics, but the truth is that Major League Baseball should do more to recognize the Latino influence in the majors.
Let the game be in Arizona. Here goes my penny-pinching idea to Major League Baseball and one of today’s TV networks.
In Phoenix, announce the first ever Latino Major League All-Star Team around the 2011 All-Star Game festivities.
It is just a simple celebration of the best Latinos in the history of All-Star games.
Probably a balmy idea; however, it is one way to be in unity and harmony with the Latino community and to not repeat blunders of the past.
Nobody should forget back in 1999 when many Latino fans were unhappy that no Latino players had been elected in the Major League All-Century Team.
In particular, Roberto Clemente, who had finished 10th among outfielders and missed the cut. Baseball tried to assuage fans’ complaints in 2005 by announcing the “Latino Legends Team.”
If Major League Baseball needs assistance this will be my Major League Baseball Latino All-Time Team:
C- Ivan Rodriguez ( 14 All-Star games)
1B-Rod Carew (18 All-Star games-Hall of Famer)
2B-Roberto Alomar (12 All-Star games-1998 All-Star Game MVP)
3B-Alex Rodriguez (13 All-Star games)
SS-David Concepcion (nine All-Star games-1982 All-Star Game MVP)
OF-Roberto Clemente (12 All-Star games-Hall of Famer)
OF-Vladimir Guerrero (nine All-Star games)
OF-Manny Ramirez (12 All-Star games)
DH-Edgar Martinez (seven All-Star games)
P-Juan Marichal (10 All-Star games-1965 All-Star Game MVP-Hall of Famer)
P-Pedro Martinez (eight All-Star games-1999 All-Star Game MVP)
RP-Mariano Rivera (11 time All-Star games)
Furthermore, another good chance in timing that Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 could be retired from Major League Baseball.
No one knows what will happen next; however, it will be a goodwill act from the host Diamondbacks to demonstrate that Arizona truly believes in multiculturalism and are against possible racial profiling in their own backyard.
The Phoenix Suns, back in May, wore their “Los Suns” jerseys to honor its Latino community. Diamondbacks should start with few given days this season wearing a “Los Cascabeles” shirt as a good start.
The 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona should be the showcase to stand up and voice what should be right.
Dreams became reality in 1997 when then-rookie Cuban pitcher Livan Hernandez cried out, “I love you, Miami,” in front of a national television audience
Marlins fans woke up and realized their Florida franchise really did win its first World Series.
“I love you, Miami,” probably can be heard again this season from Major League Baseball.
The Florida Marlins want to host the All-Star Game in 2015.
Marlins president David Samson discussed the team’s perspective during the recent celebrated FanFest and has repeated his remarks to the national baseball media.
“We lost the game before we had a ballpark. Now that there is a ballpark, it is certainly is our expectation that the All-Star Game will be returned to Miami,” Samson said recently to the Associated Press. “We look forward to that happening and are very hopeful that it will be 2015.”
The Marlins were awarded the 2000 All-Star Game in 1995, but then-National League President Len Coleman took it away in 1998 and gave it to the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field, saying the league wanted the game in new ballparks.
Many baseball followers understood at the time it was some kind of punishment for the way former owner Wayne Huizenga broke up the 1997 World Series championship team.
The Midsummer Classic, if awarded, will be the first ever in South Florida and will be at the brand new retractable-roof Marlins stadium on the former Orange Bowl site in Little Havana, slated to open for the 2012 season
In 2012 the franchise will introduce its new name, the Miami Marlins.
The Los Angeles Angels host this year’s 2010 All-Star Game, and the Arizona Diamondbacks host in 2011.
Major League Baseball officials have said the 2012 host likely will be the Kansas City Royals and then the New York Mets in 2013.
The Minnesota Twins, who will inaugurate Target Field this year, hope to host the big game in 2014.
Although 2014 is an American League year, the Chicago Cubs also have said they’d like to be awarded the game that season to mark the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field.
My crystal ball says the dream will come true–Miami will be awarded the All-Star Game.
My crystal ball also says if the players mentioned stay in their current teams, these will be the opening lineups of the 2015 Midsummer Classic at Marlins Park.
C: Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Boston
3B: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
SS: Elvis Andrus, Texas
OF: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston
OF: Nelson Cruz, Texas
P: Felix Hernandez, Seattle
C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis
1B: Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2B: Dan Uggla, Florida
3B: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida
OF: Chris Coghlan, Florida
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
OF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
P: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
The All-Star Game is almost here and the 2009 season have reached its historically midway point of its schedule, making the perfect moment for this year Midseason Awards.
Disregard the predictions written back in April. Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated had the Yankees, Twins, Angels and Red Sox making October . Both publications went Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets in the National League.
Honestly, not bad at all. Except in both Central Division, the Tigers and the Cardinals at the moment are changing the spring prognosis. Also, the Angels have to be careful with the surprising Rangers in the American League West. Moreover, in the National League wild-card race unless the Mets get a miracle as the famous New York expression “Forget About It!”. At the moment the Giants, Marlins and Brewers look best for the coveted prize in the old circuit.
I will not give any forecasts. After all, who said back in 2007 the Colorado Rockies would make it to the World Series. Nobody crystal ball predicted the Phillies and the Rays last season in the October Classic.
Let’s have fun. Here are my midseason award winners:
Best Team: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees (tie)
Surprise Team: Texas Rangers
Disappointing Team: Cleveland Indians
Best Latino Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Best Latino Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Best Latino Rookie: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Best Boricua: Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox
Best Latino Surprise Player: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
Dissapointment Latino Player: Magglio Ordoñez, Detroit Tigers
Forget About Him!: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Best Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Surprise Team: San Francisco Giants
Disappointing Team: Chicago Cubs
Best Latino Player: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Best Latino Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Best Latino Rookie: Omir Santos, New York Mets
Best Boricua: Carlos Beltrán, New York Mets
Best Latino Surprise Player: Joel Piñeiro, St. Louis Cardinals
Dissapointment Latino Player: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Forget About Him!: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers
My Midseason Latino All-Star Team:
C Victor Martinez (Indians); 1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals); 2B Robinson Cano (Yankees); 3B Mike Lowell (Boston); SS Hanley Ramirez(Marlins); OF Carlos Beltran (Mets); Carlos Lee (Astros); Juan Rivera (Angels); P Felix Hernandez (Mariners); PR Mariano Rivera (Yankees).
This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook
This upcoming 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Yadier Molina will be the lone boricua shining with the best of the best .
There is no doubt, the younger of the Molina brothers deserved the accolade from the fans to be the starting catcher in the National League lineup. Not because the fans wanted to award him with his first All-Star experience playing at home. The 2009 All-Star Game will be played at Busch Stadium in his Cardinal nest in St. Louis on July 14. Neither a gift because he will be celebrating his 27th birthday the night before the big mid-summer classic game.
Yadier is validating he is the best defensive catcher in the National League. At midway point of this season he has thrown out 44 percent of would-be basestealers and picked off four baserunners as well. He’s second in the league in innings caught. Numbers that are in pace to help him win his second career Gold Glove Award.
Do not misremember either his batting. The Bayamon native is hitting for a .284 average with 5 homers and 28 RBI’s.
Of course, we can not forget that Carlos Beltran was also selected to be a starter outfielder in the National League. However, the Manati native at present is receiving a second treatment in his ailing right knee and would be re-evaluated during the All-Star break.
At this moment, the New York Mets have informed if doctors cleared him, he could resume baseball-related activates, like hitting and running after the All-Star Game break. For now, he is exercising on a bike and in a pool. Beltran publicly have acknowledged he does not have a timetable how long it would take to return to the Mets.
For the rest, after 85 games, I keep asking que pasa boricua ? Besides Molina and Beltran whom this season deserve to be an All-Star. Possibly in the National League older Yadier’s brother Bengie and in the American League Mike Lowell before getting re-injured again with hip problems. That’s it !
No longer are the hey-days of full of boricuas All-Star Games. See the accompanied chart below this decade. Make your own conclusions. I know we can do better again. Hopefully soon.
Puerto Ricans in All-Star Games (2001-2009)
2001 (Seattle): Roberto Alomar, Juan González, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Bernie Williams
2002 (Milwaukee): José Hernández, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Benito Santiago, José Vidró
2003 (Chicago): Carlos Delgado, Javier López, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Jose Vidró
2004 (Houston): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Iván Rodríguez, Javier Vázquez
2005 (Detroit): Carlos Beltrán, Felipe López, Iván Rodríguez
2006 (Pittsburgh): Carlos Beltrán, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2007 (San Francisco): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2008 (New York): Geovany Soto
2009 (St. Louis): Yadier Molina
This column was published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook
For the first time this season Mike Lowell is accepting a break. Not because he is pulling one of those Alex Rodriguez ‘fatigue’ stories as the ‘A-Rod’ did when the Yankees came to Miami. Lowell’ hip had grown stiff and sore lately and his Manager Terry Francona have offer him to take longer breaks. Not good news for the Puerto Rican four-time All-Star.
Let’s remember this season is one he does not want to finish hurt. Lowell pointed us out back during spring training that he very well know he needs a healthy season and finish with good numbers.
He really wants to demostrate Boston’ management he can still play and would like to be a Red Sox longer than his signed contract through 2010.
“This season is very important to me. I love Boston and I want to stay here. If not I play in Mars along their is big league baseball. After all I’m a major leaguer,” Lowell said.
For the veteran Gold-Glove third baseman, up until few weeks ago it look his numbers were amazing hitting over .300 and taking him to the path for a run for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Some Boston media were even talking All-Star Game in St. Louis. However, the last two weeks his hitting has gone down faster than the Titanic. At this moment he’s hitting .281, 10 homers with 41 RBI’s.
According to Lowell, 35, the pain is not constant but some days his hip would feel “locked up”.
For Red Sox Nation fans this is not good news either. Specially right now that they are in command of their East Division pennant. Nonetheless, they have not forgotten that it could be déjà vu all over again as last season.
Last year Lowell went down as they were fighting the surprising Tampa Bay Rays. For most of the 2008 campaign he was hurt to the point he was left off from the Red Sox roster for the American League Championship Series. And in October 20th he decided on to go to surgery for a torn labrum in his right hip with well catalogued Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York.
Remember the Rays won and were the one with the ticket to the World Series. And this year the Red Sox besides the Rays they also have the Yankees and the Blue Jays in their back very close too.
At this moment the Red Sox are planning to put Lowell on a maintenance program starting next week up to the All-Star break where he’ll receive at least one day off a week and receive occasional lubricating injections to ease the friction in the cartilage in hip and they want to make sure he’s rested accordingly. After the All-Star Game they will check on Lowell’s progress.
The Red Sox acknowledge that they need a healthy Lowell to win it all again. In the other hand, Lowell wants to be healthy enough to go back to a post-season and who knows if he can repeat again his 2007 World Series MVP performance. And of course, stay as a Red Sox.
Last Minute Note: Lowell probably will not play this weekend against the Atlanta Braves according to various reports.
This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook
El proximo 14 de Julio las Grandes Ligas celebrará en el Estadio Busch en la ciudad de San Luis el tradicional Juego de las Estrellas.
Siempre he sido de los fieles creyentes que el béisbol desde hace mucho tiempo es un juego de carácter mundial. Será el pasatiempo americano pero desde hace mucho tiempo es uno de sabor internacional. Es uno que debe regresar al calendario olímpico y entiendo cambios deben pasar en las mayores.
Atras en el 2001 en un congreso periodistico como parte de las festividades del partido de las luminarias en Seattle propuse que se cambiara el formato del Juego de las Estrellas a uno igual que el partido de los novatos del Juego de las Futuras Estrellas. Estados Unidos vs. El Mundo.
Para tal fantasia mia aquí les propongó mis selecciones del equipo del mundo y de los Estados Unidos sí este evento pudiera ser realidad este mismo año.
Si bien nota cada roster comprende de 32 jugadores tal como en el tradicional Juego de las Estrellas entre la Liga Americana y la Liga Nacional. Tambien note que en el equipo del mundo hice todo lo posible de tener las máximas figuras actuales de América Latina, Canadá y Japón.
Es tarde para ver tal sugerencia en el nido de los Cardenales este año pero tal formato debe ser considerado en un futuro cercano.
Siempre lo he dicho, que bueno es soñar. El tiempo dirá. Quien sabe sí este fantastico juego fuese realidad este año 2009 lo que hubiese sido pero si las Grandes Ligas me toman para el 2010 mi idea aquí están mis equipos:
Equipo Todos Estrellas-El Mundo
Dirigente: Ozzie Guillén, Medias Blancas de Chicago
Coaches: Fredi González (Florida); Manny Acta (Washington); Carlos Tosca (Florida)
Johan Santana, Mets de Nueva York
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee
Javier Vázquez, Atlanta
Felix Hernández, Seattle
Liván Hernández, Mets de Nueva York
Wandy Rodríguez, Houston
Pedro Feliciano, Mets de Nueva York
Kiko Calero, Florida
Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati
Francisco Rodríguez, Mets de Nueva York
Mariano Rivera, Yankees de Nueva York
Victor Martínez, Cleveland
Bengie Molina, San Francisco
Yadier Molina, San Luis
1B Albert Pujols, San Luis
1B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
1B Adrian González, San Diego
2B Robinson Canó, Yankees de Nueva York
2B Felipe López, Arizona
SS Hanley Ramírez, Florida
SS Cristian Guzmán, Washington
SS Marco Scutaro, Toronto
SS Miguel Tejada, Houston
3B Mike Lowell, Boston
3B Jorge Cantu, Florida
Jason Bay, Boston
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle
Carlos Beltrán, Mets de Nueva York
Carlos Lee, Houston
Nelson Cruz, Texas
Juan Rivera, Angelinos de Los Angeles
Equipo Todos Estrellas Estados Unidos
Dirigente: Joe Torre, Dodgers de Los Angeles
Coaches: Terry Francona (Boston); Jim Leyland (Detroit); Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay)
Roy Halladay, Toronto
Zack Greinke, Kansas City
Matt Cain, San Francisco
Josh Beckett, Boston
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers de Los Angeles
Josh Johnson, Florida
Dan Haren, Arizona
Jered Weaver, Angelinos de Los Angeles
Brian Fuentes, Angelinos de Los Angeles
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers de Los Angeles
Heath Bell, San Diego
Joe Mauer, Minnesota
Brian McCann, Atlanta
Jason Varitek, Boston
1B Justin Morneau, Minnesota
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees de Nueva York
1B Kevin Youkilis, Boston
1B Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
2B Ian Kinsler, Texas
2B Chase Utley, Philadelphia
2B Brian Roberts, Baltimore
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees de Nueva York
SS Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay
3B Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
3B David Wright, Mets de Nueva York
Raul Ibañez, Filadelfia
Torii Hunter, Angelinos de Los Angeles
Ryan Braun, Milwaukke
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay
Shane Victorino, Filadelfia
Johnny Damon, Yankees de Nueva York
When thinking about Puerto Rican catchers, it first comes to mind such names as future hall-of-famer Iván Rodriguez, veteran Yankee Jorge Posada and the new wave kids Geovany Soto and Omir Santos. Often forgotten and they shouldn’t be there are Bayamon’ Molina brothers. Hopefully one month from now Yadier and Bengie will receive the attention they deserve.
“We all are quiet. We come to the ballpark to do our work and with God blessing we do the best job we can,” Yadier said at Landshark Stadium in Miami.
The Molina brothers younger to older Yadier (Cardinals), José (Yankees) and Bengie (Giants) they all debuted in the same season in 2004. They are the only trio of brothers in Major League history to win World Series ring. However, no matter what, there are often left out of the favourite boricuas fan list.
That probably could change in few weeks as both the junior and the senior can be select it to their first All-Star Game in their careers.
“Yadier is like the kid everybody loves in the neighborhood,” St.Louis’ Manager Tony LaRussa said. “He deserves it same as his brother (Bengie).”
At this moment, Yadier, 26, is the leading vote-getter among National League catchers for the upcoming All-Star Game. And he is very happy about it moreover this year Summer Classic is at his Redbird nest at Busch Stadium in St. Louis July 14.
“It means a lot to me. A lot of people doubted I could do it,” Yadier said. “I’m proud of what I have done so far. It feels very good.”
Of course, he should feel good. Defensively he is probing once more he was not just lucky last season when he won his fisrt Gold Glove. At present, Yadier leads all Major League catchers in throwing percentage (41.8) and leads the majors in pick-offs since 2005. He admitted is slumping offensively a bit but he knows he can do better as similar to last year career-best .304.
In the other side of the country, all west, Bengie, 34, is finally getting the attention he deserves. Not only because he is only 1 of 3 active catchers —Pudge Rodriguez (13) and Brad Ausmus (3)– to have won multiple Gold Gloves (American League 2002 and 2003) or owns as a catcher a career .994 fielding percentage. As a backstopper, he is second in the majors in putouts and have logged fourth-most innings played behind the plate. Also, he can hit too. He leads his San Francisco uniform in homers and RBI since 2007 and he is the leader again in both departments in 2009 (9 HR-37 RBI).
“(Pitcher) Matt McCain should be our All-Star this year. If I’m select it then it will be a great honor.” Bengie said. “Of course, that will be great to play in the same All-Star Game with my brother”.
Last Puerto-Rican duo of brothers to play in All-Star Games together were Roberto And Sandy Alomar Jr. in the 90’s.
Even though he is satisfied with the Giants—were he have been its franchise MVP the last two seasons— he stated he sometimes feels unrecognized as in his days with the Anaheim Angels. However, he said that given the right oppportunity he wants to stay in the Bay Area with San Francisco and be the starting catcher for the next two or three years.
Bengie is a free agent at the end of the season but he does not want to discuss with the Giants management a return to the team and any kind of deal anytime after the All-Star break.
On José, the other forgotten, is at the moment in the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa in a rehablitation assignment (strained left quadriceps muscle).
José, 33, went on the disabled list last May 10. No word from the Yankees management how soon he will called up.
This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary