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You Suck, Chuck

Most fans would be ecstatic if their team started a tough road trip 4-1, including a 3-1 series victory over a divisional opponent. Not only did the Reds win this past series versus the Cubs, they out-scored them 30-8, with victories of 12-0 and 14-3. On Sunday alone, Reds hitters accumulated seven home runs, including three from light-hitting Drew Stubbs, and one each from cameo-status role players Paul Janish and Corky Miller. In short, the Reds crushed the Cubs in almost every phase, their only hiccup coming Saturday in a 3-1 loss when Randy Wells took a no-no into the seventh. And to sweeten the pot even further, last night the Redlegs went on to take game one of the current series with the Mets, beating de-facto ace Mike Pelfrey 8-6.


I suppose the Reds fan inside me should be pretty pumped today, all things considered. The truth is, however, I'm not. Not even a little bit.


By now you have probably heard that over the weekend, somewhere between bites of potato salad, Charlie Manuel sat down and decided that there are at least 13 hitters in the National League better than Joey Votto. That is to say, after reviewing all of the National Leaguers who were not voted in by the fans, ol' Chaaahlie decided that Joey Votto didn't quite make the grade. Now, all knowledgeable baseball fans already know this to be a significant snub, when considering all the variables. The Internet is overflowing with articles on all-star slights, and pretty much all of them display a picture of Votto and a caption similar to: "what the &#@% is wrong with the world when this guy doesn't make the team?" To Reds fans, however, Charlie Manuel's omitting Joey Votto from the All-Star roster is a complete and utter travesty. Judging by the million-plus Google search results that generate when you type in "joey votto all star snub," I think it's safe to say that Manuel has some explaining to do. Consider the following:


- Votto is 4th in the league in batting average. (One through three are all-stars).

- Votto is tied for 4th in the league in RBI's. (Again, one through three are all-stars).

- Votto LEADS the league in home runs (21).


That pretty much covers the traditional barometers of hitting, i.e. the only stats that old-school West Virginia-born baseball men like Charlie Manuel put any stock in. However, there's more. In new-age statistical categories like OPS (On-Base Percentage Plus Slugging Percentage) and VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), Votto is ranked number one. Granted, I don't expect fresh-off-the-turnip-truck Charlie Manuel to fully understand or appreciate these stats, but that's what assistants are for!


And though it is simply deplorable that players like Matt Holliday (.298 BA, 11 HR, 39 RBI, .867 OPS) made Charlie's team over Votto, let's assume Charlie completely forgot he needed a designated hitter for this game and that Votto could only have made it as a first baseman. After the fans voted Albert Pujols in as the starter, Manual appointed Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez as his backups. When asked why he would select Howard instead of Votto, Manuel offered: "That's my guy."


Oh really, Chuck? He's your GUY? Well I hope that being "your guy" helps him get on base when the NL needs a couple runs in the sixth inning of the All-Star game; he's ranked 37th in on-base percentage and tied for 63rd in walks…with Akinori Iwamura. Meanwhile, Joey and his league-leading .418 on-base percentage have been told they must watch the game from the couch. And don't give me that "Ryan Howard is more of a power hitter" spiel. In case you were skimming earlier, Joey leads the league in home runs, too.


And what about Gonzalez? Is he your guy too? In my view, the Gonzalez selection is even worse than Howard. Especially considering Padres closer Heath Bell, the league leader in saves, was left off the roster as well. Bell could (should) have been selected as the Padres' lone representative (therefore fulfilling the often-maligned Little League Inclusion requirement), and Votto would have his rightful place on the roster. And if Manuel had any sense at all, Votto would be his starting designated hitter. But no, as it stands, Adrian Gonzalez made the cut. While he is on a first place club (I do think that should count for something), Gonzalez is ranked 23rd in batting average, in a three-way tie for 8th in home runs, and tied for 16th in RBI's. Joey Votto is the undisputed star of the first place Reds, and his numbers absolutely shatter those. Hell, the more I look at the numbers, Charlie might have even gotten the wrong Gonzalez. Carlos Gonzalez ranks 19th, 16th, and 15th in those categories, respectively, and he has 12 stolen bases to Adrian's, well, zero.


Finally, don't even get me started on the OMAR INFANTE disaster. You're telling me a guy who doesn't even have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title beats out Votto because he is versatile? That's like picking Ryan Theriot over Albert Pujols in your fantasy draft. When I heard Infante was selected and Votto wasn't, I pretty much just wanted to do this.


Charlie Manuel is lucky. Joey Votto still has a chance to make the All-Star team via the final fan vote that wraps up Thursday (VOTE VOTTO!) If he does, maybe he'll leave the ginormous chip on his shoulder at home when the Reds visit Philly Thursday. After getting tossed in the first inning Sunday and then homering twice in yesterday's game, it's safe to say Votto was none-too-pleased with his recent snubbing. Yet, whether or not Votto is a little P.O.'d, odds are he won't tell anyone. He'll knock around Phillies pitchers and then graciously credit his teammates for the win. For, at the end of the day, he's proven himself consistently to be a better person than he is a ballplayer. That's why Reds fans love him. That's why he's our guy.

Reed Domer-Shank 7/6/2010

3 comments:

  1. Votto got hosed but he is going to get in the All Star game, I have no doubt about that. He will also get in every year for years to come representing the Reds well.

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  2. Rockies fan here, sort of wondering how Miguel Olivo isn't in the game and Molina is. Semms like an oversight. Olivo is an oversight...Votto is a freaking travesty, a robbery, a screw job. At least the Reds fans can console themselves in the fact that you get to watch his second half. I'd much rather have a guy like Votto miss the all star game and be motivated to show everyone their mistake than back in at the end. Good Luck Reds!!!

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  3. ChrisLiam: Thanks for the Votto support. I agree that Olivo should be on the AS team, but you cannot argue much with the Molina selection, as he was voted in by the fans and we all know that to be a popularity contest. HOWEVER, Brian McCann was selected by Manual. Not only does Olivo have better offensive numbers, he also has a better fielding percentage (better than Molina's as well). Another Charlie Manual mistake!

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