Fans got it right for the most part

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

It's nice to know that in the voting for this year's All-Star Game in Detroit, the fans finally got it right.

For the most part.

It's pretty hard to argue with the players chosen to start for the American League. The lowest batting average among the AL lineup is Manny Ramirez's .275, but he's doing something right with his bat to have racked up 70 RBIs.

The biggest question in this year's voting was in the National League at first base: The Cardinals' Albert Pujols or Derrek Lee of the Cubs?

During most seasons, when faced with a quandary like this, the fans usually go with whichever name they recognize more. This season, that would most assuredly have been Pujols.

And, to be honest, few could blame them. Ever since the departure of Mark McGwire, the soon-to-be-defunct Busch Stadium has belonged to Pujols. This season alone he's hitting .341 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs.

Had the fans gone with Pujols, it would certainly not have been a travesty. But there was someone who deserved it more, and the fans gave it to him.

Derrek Lee is having the monster season players dream of. With the departure of Moises Alou and that one guy who hops every time he hits a long fly ball, no one knew where the Cubs' offense could possibly come from.

Lee has had the answer this season.

The Cubs' star infielder is currently leading the NL with a .378 average with 67 RBIs along with 25 home runs, just one behind NL-leading Andruw Jones of Atlanta.

There isn't much else to complain about when it comes to the NL's starting line up, but there is one glaring selection at third base that borders on ludicrous.

Scott Rolen has played barely half of the season so far, and when he was playing he was hitting just .266 with a mere .365 on-base percentage. Hardly earth-shattering numbers.

Call me biased, but the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez, who isn't having a stellar year by any means, is contributing more to his team this year than Rolen.

He's hitting about 40 percent better than Rolen, he has 13 more home runs than Rolen and, here's the kicker, he's played 33 more games than Rolen.

Maybe I'm crazy, but you should have to have played a little bit to be considered for all-star status.

Then again, it's the fans' game, and they should get to pick the players they want to see.

In slightly more local sports matters:

-The Greene County Stingrays have been tearing up the pool in recent weeks. They took a big victory in June 18's South Vermillion Invitational with several swimmers breaking team records. Congratulations to Garrett Alsman, Paige Collins, Kylee Grissom, Seth Herndon, Mary Patterson, Bryce Schantz, Lynnon Shouse and Olivia Villain.

Super Stingray honors for that competition went to Tre Wilson for showing exceptional sportsmanship in his first-ever meet.

Four days later, the Stingrays won yet again in a dual meet against South Vermillion in which new records were set by Collins, Grissom, Villain, Katy Wilson, Avery Pritchard, Cody Moore and Braden Cox.

Pritchard and Tyler York shared Super Stingray honors. Pritchard set a new 8-and-under freestyle record with a 19.90 second finish, and he also broke the 8-and-under backstroke record at 23.53 seconds.

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