In defense of defense

How does the game’s best defensive third baseman, who also owns the AL’s second-best average, not earn a spot on the league’s all-star team?

Aside from Blue Jays fan, this scenario has to have left Scott Rolen himself scratching his head in wonder.

“I’m disappointed,” Rolen told The Sun’s Bob Elliott once the all-star rosters were announced. “It would have been nice to go back and see passionate St. Louis fans. My family and I had talked about the possibility.”

But, as Rolen acknowledged, “Evan Longoria was voted in and Michael Young was a worthy choice.”

A worthy choice, perhaps. But certainly no more worthy than the Jays’ veteran third baseman. Through the first half of the season, Rolen still sits second in the AL behind Ichiro Suzuki with a .325 batting average. And boy has he been hot lately. The 34-year-old is hitting .380 (38-for-100) during his recent 24-game hit streak – the third-highest in Jays history and longest current streak in the majors.

Much of this success came after Jays’ manager Cito Gaston moved Rolen into the cleanup spot.

“When I put him there, he just responded,” Gaston said. “Ever since he’s been in that spot, he’s probably been the most valuable player on this team right now. He’s absolutely just stepped up another step and just done a great job for us.”

Blue Jays Spring BaseballAnd this is to say nothing about his defense – which has been nothing short of phenomenal this year.

I suppose it’s nothing new. After all, Rolen has already won seven gold gloves at third in his career. That puts him behind only two players at the position (both hall of famers) – Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10). And he’s continued that remarkable play in the field in 2009.

But here’s the thing: defense just isn’t recognized when it comes to making the all-star selections. Well, at least, it’s put on the backburner behind all things offense. And certainly gone are the days when fans would base their selections solely on one’s defense (see Ozzie Smith).

The result?

Well, baseball fans may have just lost out on the chance to see the best defensive player in the game play on the big stage at the midsummer classic.

7 Responses to “In defense of defense”

  1. eyebleaf Says:

    If he had better power numbers, he’d be an all-star.

    But we know he’s an all-star, so it’s all good. Rolen can use the rest and relaxation.

  2. Jay B Says:

    ya, to piggyback off of what eyebleaf said, for a guy that can’t play in day games after night games, i’d hope that he’d have declined the invite anyways…

    also, i can’t say that i follow this math…”The 34-year-old is hitting .380 (39-for-100) during his recent 24-game hit streak”

  3. BJays Says:

    eyebleaf…no kidding….did you not read the blog? that was the whole point of the entire post. rolen doesn’t need 40 HR a year to be an all-star. thanks for pointing out the obvious.
    Michael Young’s 10 HR are no more impressive than Rolen’s 6…and Young has 1 more RBI… and 3 more runs scored.
    So pretty much they are having the same season…how come Young doesn’t need to hit for more power? furthermore, Young has 22 more strikeouts.
    so pretty much, the whole point of the blog makes sense…they are having identical seasons for the most part, and rolen is far superior defensively (to pretty much anyone in the game).

  4. TD Says:

    Hahahaha. Jay B, you got me. Only I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you wouldn’t have caught it if it weren’t a nice even number 😉

    Decline the invitation??? He’s still played in 73 games. And as far as I’m concerned, you only need to have reached the minimum PA’s to earn a spot. Also, the day game after night game thing has more to do with Cito than Rolen not wanting to go out there.

  5. Jay B Says:

    no the day game after the night game thing has everything to do with the fact that he hasn’t had a healthy season in like 4 yrs…they need to give him adequate rest between games, and just because rolen wants to play the day games, it doesn’t mean his body can…which is why i’d hope that he’d just take the rest that’s built in for him during the AS break…

    that being said, i’d never begrudge a guy for going to an AS game, specially a guy whose career is winding down…if you earned it, then by all means…but as a selfish fan, i’d rather he just stay home and rest…the same way we all loved the idea that halladay didn’t play for team USA to keep himself fresh for the Jays season…

  6. TD Says:

    Oh, I see what you’re saying. I thought you meant that he didn’t deserve a spot because he doesn’t play every day.

    Yeah, I’d have to agree about the rest thing. Jays fans should feel good about that. That’s why I’m not voting for Lind. Hahaha. Just kidding.

  7. eyebleaf Says:

    BJays, my point is that people see that 10 is greater than six, and voila, Young’s the all-star over Rolen.

    As you said, they’re having the same season; Young’s just had more at-bats, and the superficial nature of the All-Star game means you take the guy with a little more pop, not a little more glove.

    And, as the post points out, Rolen is an all-star, and I acknowledged that.

    So thanks for coming off as a douche in your comment.

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