July 7, 2016
Tigers Ian Kinsler not an All-Star?
Blame baseball’s dim-witted fans
By KEITH GAVE
If Ian Kinsler fails to make the American League roster for the coming MLB All-Star Game, Detroit Tigers fans shouldn’t complain. They only have themselves to blame.
Although attendance at Comerica Park is lagging slightly behind recent seasons – likely because the streaky Tigers are driving their fans a little batty – they still average nearly 31,000 per game. And most of them have access to a computer or smart phone, too. The point: There are myriad ways to vote for the players they want to see in the All-Star Game, and Kinsler isn’t getting much love despite a career season by one of the best second basemen in the game.
Yes, there are some other very good second basemen in the AL, noteworthy among them hitting machine Jose Altuve of Houston and slugger Robinson Cano of Seattle, both of whom have a higher WAR (wins above replacement) than Kinsler’s 3.0. But that Kinsler didn’t rank even among the top five in fan balloting suggests two things: MLB fans are stupid, and Detroit Tigers fans are lazy.
That Omar Infante finished fourth among second baseman is a joke, since he’s now playing for the Gwinnett Braves, the minor league club that signed him after Kansas City released him. That suggests how loyal (and stupid) Kansas City fans are, as well.
Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox players dominate the voting – and not necessarily because they have the best players at each position. It’s because their fans turn out the vote. And as long as MLB continues this questionable tradition, local fans have no argument when their favorites don’t make the team.
Tigers faithful have one more shot to help Kinsler make it to his sixth career All-Star Game. He’s among five players included in the so-called Final Vote to name the last player to the AL roster. And as this is written he ranks fourth behind outfielder Michael Saunders of Toronto, outfielder George Springer, of Houston, and Dustin Pedroia, another second baseman with the Red Sox. Tampa third baseman Evan Longoria is fifth among final vote-getters.
Fans have until 4 p.m. Friday to cast their votes here: https://atmlb.com/29zdyOs
No excuses. Or at least no complaining.
Witness to History
We’re seeing something exceedingly rare and special in Tigers rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer, who in his ninth straight start Wednesday allowed just one earned run or fewer.
In the past 103 years (reliable baseball records date back to 1913), only 10 other pitchers have done that, and they include some pretty big names, like Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford. Gibson, in fact, threw 11 straight such games in 1968. Most impressive, though, was that every one of those was a complete, nine-inning game. It included a stretch of 99 innings in which he allowed just three runs.
Fulmer, 23, is an All-Star worthy 9-2 with a stingy 2.11 ERA in 76 2/3 innings. Understandably, the Tigers are being protective of that special young arm. They’re hoping to limit him to about 150 innings or so this season, which means he has about 12 starts remaining at six innings per. He has 13 starts to date.
Q. There are two days every year during which there are no major sporting events in America. Which are they?
A. (Listen in to the Game On segment with JC on Q103 at 5:10 p.m. Friday.)