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Sunday, May 16, 2004

BECAUSE IT WORKED SO WELL FOR HOWARD DEAN

I filled out All-Star ballot #1 of 25 last night, and after some deliberation here's who I put in:

1B Thomas / Thome
2B Hudson / Giles
3B Mora / Lowell
SS Rodriguez / Renteria
C Rodriguez / Piazza
OF Beltran, Guerrero, Ramirez / Bonds, Berkman, Dunn

Renteria's having a slow start, but I didn't feel justified punching Jack Wilson in his place. And I doubt Hudson can keep hitting this well, but he's a Gold Glove caliber fielder off to a great start on my favourite team.

(First person to identify the logical inconsistency in that last paragraph wins a lifetime subscription to Some Calzone for Derek.)

Rangers SS Michael Young would probably be the league MVP were the award held today, but I still think the All-Star honour should go to Young's predecessor.

Of course, Alex Rodriguez is listed as the Yankees third baseman, not shortstop.

So I left SS blank and simply scrolled down to the write-in portion of the ballot and typed ALEX RODRIGUEZ, then selected NY YANKEES, and finally selected SHORTSTOP.

Am I being perverse? Not really. Remember Rodriguez's early season slump? Well, now he's hitting .291/.374/.532. Regardless of what he's done over the past 8 years, he's a valid All-Star based on this year's stats alone.

Which got me thinking... I wonder if we can start an internet write-in campaign to get A-Rod elected as the Yankees shortstop? Think about it. From Boston to Arlington, I'm sure you've got your reasons. Whether you're a dedicated baseball enthusiast frustrated that the reigning MVP had to switch positions to avoid offending no-D Derek, or perhaps intrigued to see how Selig would (mis-)handle the whole messy situation, or maybe just want to see Big Stein blow his calzone, make your vote count.

Spread the word. Show 'em what the internet can do.

Vote A-Rod for SS.

IN YOUR FACE, A-ROD!

Derek Jeter might be hitting like crap this season but his defensive metrics (for whatever they're worth) are showing a decisive improvement. Coming into the 2004 campaign, Jeter was averaging a 4.06 range factor and a .817 zone rating. So far this season, he's got a 4.65 range factor and a .887 zone rating. His fielding percentage is also pretty good at .981.

This apparent improvement could be just the result of a small sample size or it might be a case where Jeter, having a point to prove, has genuinely put a lot of effort into righting his glove work. The irony of all of this is now that Derek is starting to play his position a little more acceptably, he's become a liability at the plate. (Jeter .541 OPS vs. A-Rod .906 OPS) If given the choice between the new "crappy fielding/very good hitting" Jeter or the old "decent fielding/horrible hitting" Jeter, anyone, outside of Larry Bowa (does his still have a job?) on crack, would go with the former.

I think maybe Derek should just relax and say, "Hey, I'm not the greatest fielder and I never will be but unless your name is Garciaparra or Tejada chances are you aren't half the hitter I am. And hey, who does your wife think about when the lights go out? You know what I'm talkin' bout." Good one, Derek.

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