American League

  • Sometimes things just donʼt go as planned. No one knows this better than the Texas Rangers, who currently own the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. 

    The season started off with promise. The team was slated to continue the tradition established over the last four years of being a successful contender in the American League; they had back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. They racked up 90 wins last season for the fourth consecutive time before missing the playoffs, thanks in part to the Oakland Athletics, who won the American League West for the second season in a row. This past off-season, the team acquired Prince Fielder in a deal with the Detroit Tigers to add some explosiveness to their lineup.

    In spite of all that, the Rangers have come out of the All-Star break with the worst record in the entire league.

    The teamʼs abysmal play is becoming a financial problem; before the season started, tickets for Rangers home games were priced as high as $100.99, one of the most expensive in the league and in the company of teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. Since the first game, ticket prices have dropped 41% on the secondary market, the largest decrease in baseball by a considerable margin. The current top price, $59.78, is one of the cheapest in the league.

    A large part of the problem is the difficulty of the division in which the Rangers find themselves. Theyʼre being asked to compete in the AL West with three of the best teams in the league: the Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, who have all passed the 50-win mark this season. The Rangers have yet to reach 40. Interestingly enough, the Rangers boast a record that is worse than the Houston Astros', but even with the major price reduction, Rangers tickets are somehow still more expensive than both the Angels and the Mariners.

    Injuries are likely playing an even bigger role in the teamʼs problems. Second baseman Jurickson Profar played just nine games before tearing a muscle in his right shoulder. Fielder will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury and 11 pitchers had made at least three starts for the team before the All-Star break.

    The Rangers are projected to finish the season with 64 wins, which, if the rest of the teams in the league finish even roughly near their win projections, would be the fewest in baseball. In the last month, the team has suffered two brutal eight-game losing streaks, and is currently amidst the worst 25-game stretch since the franchise moved to Arlington. Texas still somehow has the highest total attendance in the American League but, over the course of the season, fans have received a significant discount as an incentive to continue attending games.

Monday, the Red Sox pushed the Cardinals to the brink of elimination in the 2013 World Series with a 3-1 victory. Or maybe that should read: David Ortiz and the Red Sox pitching staff pushed the Cardinals to the brink. 

While the rest of the Red Sox's lineup continues the funk it started in the American League, batting a measly .144 through the first five games of the series, Ortiz is being clutch in the postseason. After his 3-4 night Monday, Ortiz is hitting a staggering .733 through five games with an OPS of 2.017. To put that into context, the average major leaguer’s OPS is .730. He’s 11-for-15, with four extra base hits and six RBI. If you replace the Game 1 sacrifice fly he had, which was a grand slam before Carlos Beltran reached into the Red Sox bull pen and robbed it, his numbers are even more absurd. 

While Ortiz continues to add to his October legacy, we’ll run down a list of the top five greatest postseason performances ever. If Ortiz can finish what he has started, where do you rank him on this list?

5. George Brett

Brett led the Royals to three-straight American League meetings in the 1970s, finally getting to the World Series in 1980. Brett hit .370 in the World Series in 1985 and had four hits in Game 7, helping to produce the Royals’ only World Series championship.

4. Paul Molitor

All Molitor did in the 1993 World Series was club .500 for the six-game series, hit two home runs and take home MVP honors.

3. Lou Gehrig

In 1928, in the midst of six consecutive World Series championships for the Yankees, Gehrig hit a whopping .545 with four home runs and had an OPS of 2.433.

2. Reggie Jackson

In the 1977 World Series, the aptly named “Mr. October” hit .450, bashing five home runs and finishing with an OPS of 1.792. 

1. Babe Ruth

It’s not a real baseball list if the Sultan of Swat isn’t at the top. Ruth hit .625 in the 1928 World Series and banged three home runs in Game 4, clinching a third-straight title for the Bronx Bombers.

Useless division projections: American League East

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring training is in full swing, and you can almost smell the freshly cut grass, hot dogs and peanuts of your local ballpark. The Rangers and Astros will kick off the season in just a few short weeks, and it is now time for a round of useless division predictions so we can all start getting our mind out of basketball mode and into its baseball preset.  If you saw the Orioles finishing in second place in the notorious American League East or the Oakland A’s winning the AL west, then these projections aren’t useless. As it stands, we never know what twists and turns will take place over the course of 162, but we’re going to try to look into the future and see where things will stand come October.

American League East:

Baltimore Orioles, 5th place

Falling back into the same trap I did a year ago, picking them to finish last. But I feel more confident this time around. Kind of. Similar to the Oakland A’s, I refuse to believe Buck Showalter and Co. can repeat the magic of a year ago. Wei-Yin Chen will lead the way on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll have to repeat his stellar campaign from 2012. Matt Weiters, Adam Jones and Chris Davis are also going to have to continue to build on their 2012 seasons, and while one or two of them may, I don’t see all three sustaining that performance. Like I said, I picked them to finish dead last a year ago and they won 93 games, so maybe that is their good luck charm.

Tampa Bay Rays, 4th place

For the first time in awhile, the Rays will start to fall back to Earth. David Price is still the best pitcher in the American League, and Matt Moore is going to be great too, but Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings cannot do all the heavy lifting for the offense. The pitching should be strong, which will give them a chance, but the offense will rank up there with one of the worst.

New York Yankees, 3rd place

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Karma is good when it finally hits the right people, isn’t it? The Yankees will start the season looking more like a M.A.S.H unit than a baseball team following the injuries of Mark Teixera and Curtis Granderson in Spring Training, not to mention they probably won’t have Alex Rodriguez for most of the year. That’s probably not a negative though. Derek Jeter is working to recover from the broken ankle he received in the ALCS last year, and the best closer to ever live, Mariano Rivera is on the comeback trail from injury as well. C.C. Sabathia at the top of the rotation along with Robinson Cano should give them a fighting chance until everyone returns from injury, but it may be too little too late. The Yankees may eat up one of the two wild card spots when the marathon finishes, but right now, things look bleak for the Bronx Bombers.

Boston Red Sox, 2nd  place

How forgettable was 2012? Probably not as forgettable as the choke job of 2011, but it was pretty rough. 69 wins and a major salary dump can do that to a fan base that has been spoiled for the last decade. However, the Red Sox should bounce back to prominence in 2013 if John Lester can return to his ace form and Clay Bucholz can put together an entire season. The tip of the offensive spear doesn’t change from years past, led by Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. The addition of Mike Napoli should provide a boost as well. Napoli has had success in the 19 career games he has had at Fenway, posting a .306 batting average along with seven homeruns. If the Red Sox can avoid the injury plague they caught a year ago, they could be in a good position coming down the stretch.

Toronto Blue Jays, 1st place

Yeah, I’m taking the bait. The unanimous winners of the winter, the Blue Jays added Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, and Mark Buerhle. Taking a glance at the Miami Marlins of a year ago, this blue print doesn’t appear to work very well, but the AL East is down for the first time in almost two decades, and the Blue Jays are in shape to make a serious run for the first time since they won back-to-back World Series titles in ’92 and ’93. The rotation looks solid, and the lineup looks potent with Reyes at the top, followed by Cabrera and super sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. They could follow the exact same footsteps of the Marlins a year ago, since they did acquire half their roster, but on paper, this team looks sexy, and I’m buying.

Useless division projections: American League Central

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring training is in full swing, and you can almost smell the freshly cut grass, hot dogs and peanuts of your local ballpark. The Rangers and Astros will kick off the season in just a few short weeks, and it is now time for a round of useless division predictions so we can all start getting our mind out of basketball mode and into its baseball preset.  If you saw the Orioles finishing in second place in the notorious American League East or the Oakland A’s winning the AL west, then these projections aren’t useless. As it stands, we never know what twists and turns will take place over the course of 162, but we’re going to try to look into the future and see where things will stand come October.

American League Central:

Minnesota Twins, 5th place

This rebuild job is still a ways away from nearing completion. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are still a couple of the most feared hitters in the game when they are healthy, but the key phrase in that is “when they are healthy”. The starting rotation, led by new addition Vance Worley, is shaky at best, and the bullpen isn’t much better. But, like the Padres, they play in a gorgeous ball park.

Cleveland Indians, 4th place

The Indians could be the American League’s 2013 version of the 2012 Orioles or A’s. Terry Francona was hired over the winter to head the ship, and the additions of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne, Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds will make them formidable. The hole with the tribe is the starting pitching, led by Justin Masterson. If some miracle is performed where Ubaldo Jimenez can regain the form he had in Colorado, the Indians could be in a position to make some noise. If a few breaks are caught, they could hang around till August, but the curse of Cleveland looks too big to overcome.

Chicago White Sox, 3rd place

They lost their motor of the last eight seasons when A.J. Peirzynski took his catching talents to Texas, and they failed to add anything over the winter that would make you think they can win the division. Paul Konerko is another year older, Alex Rios could be an all-star or he could be a glorified AA centerfielder, and Adam Dunn will reach 200 strikeouts yet again. All the hopes and aspirations on the South Side reside with Chris Sale at the top of the rotation, and they should be about a .500 team, but I don’t expect much else.

Kansas City Royals, 2nd place

It’s that crazy itch again, the same one that made me choose the Pirates to win the NL Central. Maybe it is something about the central divisions. The Royals are finally primed to get close to 90 wins, and if the Tigers falter, could potentially win the division. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are going to have to breakout, and James Shields is going to have to be the ace they traded for when they gave up super prospect Wil Myers. This is the year the Royals put the finishing touches on their rebuilding project and push it into “win now” mode. Of course, they could always go back to their Royal ways and find a way to win 72 games and finish 12 games back.

Detroit Tigers, 1st place

The defending American League champs are just as dangerous a year later. Justin Verlander is still awesome, as is Miguel Cabrera. Prince Fielder has a year under his belt in Motown, and they get Victor Martinez back from an injury that kept him out for all of 2012. They signed Torii Hunter in the offseason, coming off one of the best seasons of his career in Los Angeles. This is the best team in the division, and they should win it going away. If Cabrera can keep up his consistent greatness, followed by Fielder, Martinez and Hunter, the Tigers should be poised to defend their American League championship crown. 

Useless division projections: North League Central

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. Spring training is in full swing, and you can almost smell the freshly cut grass, hot dogs and peanuts of your local ballpark. The Rangers and Astros will kick off the season in just a few short weeks, and it is now time for a round of useless division predictions so we can all start getting our mind out of basketball mode and into its baseball preset.  If you saw the Orioles finishing in second place in the notorious American League East or the Oakland A’s winning the AL west, then these projections aren’t useless. As it stands, we never know what twists and turns will take place over the course of 162, but we’re going to try to look into the future and see where things will stand come October.

National League Central:

Chicago Cubs, 5th place

The Cubs are probably the saddest team in the NL Central to see the Houston Astros take their show to the American League, leaving them to be the cellar dweller. Theo Epstein is making his presence known, but the time is not right now. Anthony Rizzo will provide a solid force in the middle of the lineup as he hopes to progress into one of the more feared power hitters in the league, but that is about all they have cooking right now. The Curse of the Billy Goat has no possible end in sight.

Milwaukee Brewers, 4th place

Yovani Gallardo presents a formidable top of the rotation, and having Ryan Braun in the middle of the lineup can make any team dangerous from time to time. But the roster has holes galore, and Braun could finally face a suspension for his PED use thanks to the report out of Miami that surfaced this winter. Could be a long year for the Brew Crew.

St. Louis Cardinals, 3rd place

With Chris Carpenter already lost for the season, the loss of Kyle Lohse and the recent news of Rafael Furcal’s impending Tommy John surgery, the season has already gotten off to a rough start for the Red Birds. Adam Wainwright will have to lead the Cardinals through the dog days of summer to keep them in the hunt, and Allen Craig is going to have to stay healthy and have a breakout year for them to have a chance at a division title. All that bad news out of the way, this is still a team that knows how to win, so don’t catch yourself counting them out in March.

Cincinnati Reds, 2nd place

This is by far the best team in the division and one of the best in baseball. However, things rarely go as they should, just ask the Angels of 2012. They won 95 games in 2012, and then they got better over the offseason. The addition of Shin-Soo Choo to the top of the lineup will help drastically, and the experimental move of Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation could pay the kind of dividends that Stephen Strasburg has in D.C.. Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwig, and Brandon Phillips will provide the pop, and Johnny Cueto and Matt Latos will lead the charge on the mound. This team is stacked and will probably win the division going away. But because these predictions are useless…

Pittsburgh Pirates, 1st place

Here I go. I’m going to do it. And I’ll more than likely be laughing at myself come July when they are 12 games back, but I’m sticking my neck out and designating the Pittsburgh Pirates to be Cinderella in 2013. Andrew McCutchen is going to have to be an MVP, which he is more than capable of, and Neil Walker and Garret Jones are going to have to take their game to the next level. The rotation figures to be the best it has been in awhile, led by A.J Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and Francisco Liriano. There is a high probability these guys fade through the summer, and there is a high probability they make no noise at all. But if I get this right, I want to take Buster Olney’s job. Who am I kidding, I just picked a team to win a division and they haven’t even finished above .500 since 1992. 

The decision to call up Trout may have saved Las Angelas' season. He has been playing at an MVP level while guiding the Anels back into playoff contention after a poor start.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The date was Apr. 27, a day that could very possibly go down in baseball infamy. The Angels had just been walked off by the Cleveland Indians, bringing their record to a blasphemous 6-14, dropping them nine games back of the Texas Rangers. Then general manager Jerry Dipoto made a move that the rest of the baseball world had been clamoring for in weeks prior as the Angels dug themselves a deeper and deeper hole in the division race only three weeks into the season. He called up the dynamic Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels can slide their way into the last wild card spot before the postseason begins, but if they don’t, Trout will carry none of the blame.

While Trout is out on the West Coast bringing back old memories of Mickey Mantle, Miguel Cabrera is possibly in the midst of the quietest Triple Crown hunt since Carl Yastrzemski did it back in 1967. He leads the American League in RBIs with 133 and boasts the league’s best average at .329. He has 42 home runs, trailing the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton by only one. One would have to assume that even in the midst of Trout’s transcendent rookie campaign, if Miguel Cabrera ends up pulling off the Triple Crown, the award is all but his.

And while sabermetricians and baseball purists rage war over who should win between Cabrera and Trout, there are three other names in the American League, among others, that should at least be given consideration. If Cabrera and Trout weren’t in the midst of historical seasons, these three would be given much more notice than what they’ve received.

Adrian Beltre: While Beltre isn’t having nearly the year the other two front-runners are having, his season is nothing to sneeze at, not by a long shot. He’s eighth in the league in RBIs with 98, sixth in the league with 35 homers and fifth in average, sporting .315. While none of the numbers are earth-shattering, he is arguably the most valuable player on the best team in the American League. He’s been on a torrid pace since August, hitting .323 and belting 11 home runs and has by far been the most clutch contributor in the lineup. He is the best defensive third basemen in the game, consistently taking base hits away from the opposition, and defense is often an underrated aspect of the voting.

Josh Hamilton: Continuing with the Rangers theme, Hamilton has turned in quite the season himself. First in the league with 43 home runs, second in RBIs with 124, but the case gets a bit fuzzier when you analyze the average. While his .285 average isn’t bad by any stretch, he falls short compared to the elite he’s being compared with in 2012. He hit an eye-popping .359 in his 2010 MVP campaign, so he will fall well below what everyone knows he is capable of. Through the first quarter of the season, it looked like Hamilton was well on his way to his second MVP, belting 21 home runs by the end of May and hitting .368. Then the bottom fell out for about a six-week stretch, and Hamilton has yet to make up the ground that Cabrera and Trout did since then.

Adam Jones: With the “Angels in the Outfield”-type story going on up in Baltimore, you have to include one on the list. Step on up, Adam Jones. Leading the charge for the magical Orioles, Jones has career highs in home runs with 32, a batting average of .292 and will likely break his career record for RBIs. He has 81 thus far and only needs two more over the last eight days of the season to surpass his high water mark. Jones has been the heart and soul for a team looking to make the playoffs since 1997. He has an offensive Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 5.5, second to only Cabrera and Trout. While the pitching has held among other factors, Jones’ stellar season has largely contributed to the Orioles rise from the dead.

While there are other candidates that deserve to get some notice for the campaigns they have put up, such as Derek Jeter’s amazing comeback from a subpar 2011, Joe Mauer’s consistently great numbers up in the lowly Twin Cities or Edwin Encarnacion’s power surge in Toronto, there are really only two horses in this race. If Cabrera wins the Triple Crown, you can probably raise the white flag on the whole contest. If Hamilton can fend him off and if Trout leads the Angels to the postseason after their embarrassing start, things will get awfully hairy for the voters. It’s been a wild ride thus far, and the final week of the season might upstage the whole thing.

Let’s take a quick preview of the American League’s upper echelon this season (as of Sept. 18):

1. East- NY Yankees (83-63)
Baltimore Orioles (84-64)
Tampa Bay Rays (78-70)

2. Central- Chicago
White Sox (81-66)
Detroit Tigers (78-69)

3. West- Texas Rangers (87-60)
Oakland Athletics (84-63)
LA Angels (81-67)

Although it’s no match to the historically close finish to the AL Wild Card race last season, this year’s race is proving to be a nail-biter of its own kind. The Rangers taking the West and the White Sox claiming the Central seem to be the most obvious take-home conclusions. However, with approximately 16 games to go (nearly 10 percent of the season), the East is still up for grabs between the Yankees and the Orioles. Of those two teams, the one that doesn’t take the East will vie for the fourth seed (first wild card spot) with the Oakland Athletics. The one that doesn’t take the fourth seed will likely end up as the fifth seed (second wild card spot). In a nutshell, the epicenter of this competition lies between the Yankees, Orioles and the Athletics.

Three other teams that are currently stretching for the wild card but definitely within striking range are: Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers. As they creep upon the finish line, these three teams could definitely have a say in who plays in that wild card game. The Angels selected an unpropitious time to completely lose their momentum against the Athletics and lost three straight games. The Rays and Tigers need to start doing something different, considering they are quickly exiting the wild card picture. A few miracles definitely wouldn’t hurt them.

Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish pitches to a Kansas City Royals batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, Sept. 3, 2012.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers have a chance to win their third straight American League pennant and possibly their first World Series championship in franchise history.

The Rangers (80-54) are four games ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the American League West and boast the best record of .597 in the AL with 25 games remaining in the regular season.

For a deep postseason run, the team must continue to produce its unprecedented offensive efficiency. Through 134 games, the Rangers have the highest batting average (.278), the most RBIs (671), most runs scored (694), most hits (1295) and highest on-base percentage (.340) in the Majors.

The Texas pitching staff is third in the league with wins (80), second with the least amount of games lost (54) but 13th in ERA (3.87) and 17th in runs allowed (573).

The staff’s effectiveness is a major component of another pennant chase. Statistically, this season pitchers Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison are at the top of the starting rotation in wins and ERA. The team received additional help with the acquisition of Ryan Dempster, 4-1 since joining the club.

Pitchers Scott Feldman and Derek Holland must find stability on the mound before October, as they possess the highest ERA in the rotation. Roy Oswalt, who signed a one-year deal with the Rangers in May, is currently in the bullpen but could be a factor as a starter in the playoffs.

The Rangers bullpen is among the best in baseball. Closer Joe Nathan was shaky earlier this year but has since converted a team-record 26 consecutive saves. The Rangers will need to rely on him heavily in close-ball games throughout the postseason, especially with former closer Neftali Feliz, who began this year as a starter, undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Once off the disabled list, relief pitcher Robbie Ross will look to continue his dominance on the bump along with setup man Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando.

The Rangers seem destined to lock up another playoff spot this season but the A’s have surged since July, winning 39 of their last 55 games. Oakland is still in contention for the AL West title and poses a threat against any team in the majors, especially if they are able to make the postseason. Nonetheless, barring further injuries to other players, the Rangers’ chances of making the playoffs and obtaining a third straight pennant are very good.

American League Central Preseason Power Rankings

Spring Training continues to grind on in Arizona and Florida, and now we suddenly begin to find ourselves in the meat of the spring training schedule. Decisions are starting to be made, pitchers are being stretched out for more than 30 pitches an appearance, and lineups are starting to get closer to resembling major league lineups rather than a mixture of hopeful minor league prospects. As the season draws closer, we’re going to give you a preseason set of power rankings for each division to get you up to speed before April 4th.

1. Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander is Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera is Miguel Cabrera. Those two carried the Tigers to the ALCS last year, and now they add the big bat of Prince Fielder to the middle of the lineup. These guys are clear favorites to win the Central for a consecutive year.

2. Chicago White Sox: There is a Grand Canyon-esque gap between the number 1 and number 2 spots here. Kenny Williams and his crew are in total rebuild mode, losing Mark Beurhle in the off season and trading away slugging left fielder Carlos Quentin. Along with those subtractions, World Series winning manager Ozzie Guillen has also left the dugout. The White Sox have some good young talent getting ready to hit the big leagues, along with Jake Peavy and Chris Sale headlining their rotation, but .500 would be a realistic mark for these guys to aim for.

3. Kansas City Royals: The Royals ripped a page out of John Daniels’ “How To: Build a Powerhouse Franchise” book from earlier in the decade, and they are starting to see the fruits. Eric Hosmer had a successful rookie campaign, top pitching prospect Danny Duffy got his feet wet last year, and there is more help on the way. They’re probably a couple of years away from really competing in the Central, but this young team should be fun to watch grow and could surprise some people.

4. Cleveland Indians: The feel good story of the 2011 season, the biggest question for the Tribe is if they can build off of it. They made a gutsy move at the trade deadline last July when they acquired Ubaldo Jiminez from the Rockies, and if he can regain his 2010 form, these guys could pose as a major pest for the rest of the American League in 2012.

5. Minnesota Twins: Ron Gardenhire has to wonder what went so terribly wrong in the last couple years. Not that long ago, they locked up Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to long term contracts, appearing to be the building blocks for a healthy franchise for an extended period of time. Then the injury bug bit and everything crumbled. They stumbled to 99 losses last year and the worst record in the American League. If those two can stay healthy, they won’t finish with the worst mark again, but that is a big “if” and their competitiveness can be seriously questioned heading into 2012.

Fans unimpressed by watered-down All-Star game.

American League's Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers pitches at the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
American League's Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers pitches at the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The National League beat the American League 5-1 in the 2011 MLB All-Star game, and that is about as much as some are willing to remember.

“What a waste of two hours and some odd minutes of my life,” said broadcast journalism senior Derek Lewis.

Like many sports fanatics, Lewis decided to watch the All-Star game on Tuesday, but was disappointed by the lack pomp and circumstance. Some of these fans said that this year’s watered-down cast of All-Stars and boring broadcast was not appealing.

“It had three big plays,” Lewis said. “The rest was all fairly boring, undominating pitching that was just good enough to get outs for the National League and some poor defensive efforts that made the game into Keystone Cops at certain points. Plus, several big American League pitchers were out. Several big name players overall were out. Not a good showing from baseball.”

In the American League two players chosen to by the fans — Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez — and four pitchers selected by the players (including three more Yankees), skipped for medical reasons. Jeter, who recently recorded his 3,000th career hit, cited mental and physical exhaustion as the reason for his absence. Rodriguez is currently in on the DL.

In the National League, only one voted starter — Jose Reyes — didn’t suit up Tuesday in Phoenix, but Shane Victorino, who won the final vote over Washington Nationals first baseman Michael Morse, was also out injured.

Though this year’s numbers have not been released, the MLB All-Star game’s ratings have declined consistently over the past decade, with last year’s mid-summer classic boasting the worst ratings ever. Fans who watched but didn’t enjoy this year’s game said the MLB isn’t doing enough to keep the very people that drive the game interested — the fans.

“It was like any other baseball game, which is sad because it’s the All-star game,” said baseball fan Sarang Patel. “A lot of it may be Fox's fault. There was no "fun" appeal. The highlight was Justin Timberlake with his beer near a pool with girls. The NBA All-Star game has all these in-game microphones, celebrity interviews, jokesters, etc. The MLB and Fox couldn't even utilize Brian Wilson correctly.”

Other fans echoed Patel’s sentiment that the MLB has gotten lazy in keeping fans interested, and say other sports offer more exciting draws in the summer sports lull.

“They [MLB] really aren't trying to fight Soccer for this summer market while the NBA and NFL take vacations,” Lewis said.

Brian Wilson is the San Francisco Giants reliever known for his post-game celebrations and hilarious antics.

It may not be fair to compare the two sports’ All-star games, but in terms of ratings, the NBA knows what it’s doing. It puts the game on a weekend and spends an entire week building the event up with funny promotions; Usher crooning about it, and with players who actually want to play in the game. The 2011 NBA All-Star game boasted its highest ratings since 2003, bringing in over 12 million viewers.

Some regular sports fans didn’t even realize the All-Star game was even scheduled for Tuesday night.

“I didn’t even know it happened,” said business senior Saagar Grover, adding that he didn’t mind missing it.

Obviously these dissenting voices don’t represent the voice of every sport and baseball fan. The fact of the matter is that baseball is slowly losing younger viewers to the glitz and glamour of the NBA and NFL. Both those leagues are able to draw viewers to games in which a fan may not even have a vested interested beyond the desire to be entertained. One would have thought that with the other leagues wrapped up in lockouts, baseball would do everything it could to retain and even gain viewers who have nothing else to follow right now. If I were Bud Selig, I would have put in a call into Usher, or maybe Ke$ha.

Not every baseball fan had a bad time. History junior Eli Perez said he preferred the low-key nature of the game, as well as getting the opportunity to see some fresh talent.

“It was exciting to see the next crop of super stars like Starlin Castro and Rickie Weeks come up and playing in the game, but it was really disappointing to not see Derek Jeter out there," Perez said. “Overall it was a fun game to just sit back and relax to. Not every game is going to have hundreds of runs scored. Sometimes they are just a grind which can be equally as enjoyable to watch.”

He may be right. That type of game does appeal to some people, and I certainly tuned in for 90 percent of it. But it wasn’t exciting enough to keep me from flipping back and forth between Fuse’s 100 Sexiest Videos of All-time, and ESPN U’s rerun of last year’s Texas vs. Nebraska football game.