Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University and pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeye baseball team from 1971 through 1974.  He furthered his baseball career as a minor league league umpire for seven years, working in the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA).  He has written for numerous websites, and for eight years served as a regular columnist and photo editor for Gettysburg Magazine, published by Morningside Books, in Dayton, Ohio.  Widely knowledgable on that period of American History, Fulks is a frequent speaker on the Civil War at local roundtables throughout the country.  Involved with a number of writing projects, he and wife Mindy have two grown children and live in Covington, Ohio.

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As a general rule the baseball all-star game is the only one with any credibility at all…that is, except for the selection process. 

I’ll say it plain.  Tony LaRussa or whomever blew the call.  Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto should be on the National League All-Star team.  Aroldis Chapman, the one-pitch wonder, should not.

Get it?

I don’t know exactly why Phillips and Cueto aren’t on the team.  And I don’t know the motivation behind their exclusion.  The Reds’ broadcasters were going on and on yesterday about the 2010 season and bad blood between the Reds and the Cardinals, this while LaRussa was still the manager.  Phillips reportedly called the Cardinals “whiney bitches” (canine variety) in the paper that summer, and Cueto kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head during the August fight at GABP. 

Is that the reason?  Maybe.  Who knows?

I know Phillips is the best second baseman in the National League, he’s hitting .288 after a horrendous start and a hamstring injury in April, has 50 rbis, and no one is better defensively. 

I know the Braves’ Dan Uggla got the starting vote from the fans, is hitting 50 points less with fewer rbis, and can’t carry Phillips’ glove…but he got more votes from the fans.

Cueto is among a number of deserving starting pitchers left off the squad, but still, he turns in one quality start after another, has a 9-4 record, a 2.46 earned run average, and ranks in terms of consistency with the likes of Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Matt Cain of the Giants.  Go figure.

I admit…I’m a fan of the game and not individual players.  And I’m gonna’ watch the All-Star notwithstanding Brandon Phillips and Cueto getting politically molested, if that’s what happened.  But for the sake of credibility, and for the sake of baseball’s official mantra that “this game counts”, I believe there should be a more educated and statistically fair way of determining the rosters.

That means, of course, that the managers and the players in each league should probably pick the All-Star teams.  As it is, several years ago Bowie Kuhn played the “politically correct” card by decreeing that the fans could sit in the stands and fill out ballots for selection of the starting eight players.  This is a farce, of course, because I’ve personally witnessed first graders sitting by Mom and Dad punching one ballot after another, oblivious of individual merits of players that didn’t play on his favorite team.  So, you end up with players that are injured being voted to the starting lineup, or one hitting .218, if he comes from a team in one of the larger markets.

If the game really does count…and for the fact of home field advantage in the World Series it surely does…then I say enough with cramming the ballot box to get hometown favorites on the respective teams (It’s now done by computer).  I know it’s not politically correct, but neither am I.  Bowie Kuhn is dead and I say bury his asinine all-star plan beside him.

No one knows better of who’s deserving than those on the field, players and managers.  And if you want to include the fans’ opinion on something, I say let them pick the rosters for the home run derby.  Generally speaking, they’ve got a chance at getting that right.

Brandon Phillips sitting at home next Tuesday is not right!

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