Turn on sports radio anywhere across the country and you’re bound to hear the question at least once: should Dodger phenom Yasiel Puig be on the All-Atar team?
On one side of the argument, he’s the most exciting player in the game right now and has mind-boggling stats to back it up.
On the flip side, however, Puig has been in the majors for just a month — two months less than his all-star game competitors.
So is there a right answer? Is there any sort of unanimous decision we can come to?
For starters, we’ve got to remove ourselves from bias.
As Dodger fans, it’s easy to scoff at folks who argue against PuigMania extending to New York in a couple weeks, but in order to make a compelling argument we need to distance ourselves as fans.
The real question here is how we define the All-Star game and it’s purpose to begin with, and in my mind, there are three real arguments:
1) The All-Star Game is strictly a reward for the first half’s best players
Pros: I think this is probably the most popular belief about the All-Star Game, and just the name itself seems to indicate it’s the real answer.
Cons: If this is the case, why do fans vote in starters with no regard for actual performance in some cases?
PuigWatch: If this is the definition, it’s tough to justify a guy who has played in just 1/3 the games making the team. Then again, his performance in those games does make as compelling argument as any player could make in his position.
2) The All-Star Game is for entertainment purposes
Pros: We vote guys into the game that we want to see — not because they’re the best, but because they’re our favorites.
Cons: It’s called the All-Star Game, not the all-fun game.
PuigWatch: There’s no player more exciting in baseball right now, so if you’re watching the All-Star Game to be entertained, then Puig has to be there.
3) The All-Star Game is designed to determine Home-Field advantage in the World Series
Pros: It’s a real reward for the winner, and considering eight of the past 10 world series champions have had home-field advantage, it’s safe to say it matters.
Cons: The rule was only added in 2003, and should be viewed as just a silly incentive — not the actual purpose of the game.
PuigWatch: If the National League really wants to win this game, then adding Puig is a no-brainer. Plain and simple. (Note: the fact that Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy might be the guy to make this decision adds to the fascination)
So which is it?
As a fan of baseball, for me, the decision is simple: I want Puig in New York.
He’s exciting, he’s good and he’s one of the players who represents the future of the game as a whole.
The problem is, I also recognize the arguments from guys like Dexter Fowler (.291 with 10 HR) and Hunter Pence (.276 with 13 HR and 42 RBI). Having worked hard for three months only to lose out to a guy with a hot month of June would be a tough pill to swallow.
Needless to say, this decision is far from an easy one to make.
Too bad for unanimity.
What do you think?