Jun 18, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner reacts after scoring a run on a single hit by teammate Alfonso Soriano (not pictured) in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
For most people, the month of July serves as the commencement of the dog days of summer. For baseball fans, July signifies a lot more than sweltering heat and extreme humidity. It means that we are officially at the midpoint of the baseball season. More importantly, it means that one of the most exciting events of the season is quickly approaching – the MLB All Star Game.
The MLB All Star Game is unique in that unlike other major American sports, the game actually carries serious weight. The league who wins the “Mid Summer Classic” is awarded home field advantage in the World Series. Obviously, this makes the roster selection even more crucial considering what is at stake. Excluding the Final Vote and injury replacements, the rosters appear to be set. However, this does not mean that everyone is content with the rosters. The selection process and its flaws usually disgust many observers. Fans have a tendency to vote for players that are not exactly all star material. In addition, managers tend to be biased towards the players on their team or in their division. The fact is that somebody is always left dissatisfied. Fans are usually left with a glum feeling resembling the feeling moviegoers experience when their favorite actor is passed over for an Oscar nomination.
“Snub” is a word that is commonly thrown around this time of year. This year many prominent players such as Ian Kinsler, Chris Sale, Tim Hudson, and Hanley Ramirez were considered to be some of the biggest snubs of the All Star Game. These are only a few names out of the many players who arguably deserve the honor. One of the most overlooked players this year is Yankee outfielder, Brett Gardner.
At first glance it appears impossible to overlook Brett Gardner. He plays in a big market and bats leadoff for the Yankees. However, Gardner seems to get lost in the shuffle due to the many high profile players on the Yankees. This year Gardner has been the Yankees’ best position player. He leads the team in hits, runs, average, on base percentage, and steals. He also has provided stellar defense in the outfield. Without Gardner’s presence in the leadoff spot the Yankees would be in big trouble. According to ESPN.com, Gardner’s season is worth 3.09 wins above replacement (WAR). He ranks 33rd in this category in the MLB. On paper Brett Gardner looks like an ideal All Star Game candidate.
Unfortunately for Gardner, there were other factors that prompted him to be left off the roster. The American League is filled with talented outfielders. It is difficult to disagree with any of the selections made in place of Brett Gardner. Another factor that hurt Gardner’s chances was the Yankees record. The Yankees have played lackluster baseball up to this point. They are fortunate to be sending three players to Minnesota. It is difficult to make a case for a fourth all star for the Yankees considering their unremarkable record. Brett Gardner is having a very impressive season and he definitely deserves attention. However, sadly for Gardner there are factors out his control that will prevent him from playing in Minnesota. Gardner is still in his prime and will have many opportunities to make an All Star team. Hopefully next year he has better luck.