No way to guess the All-Star MVP in advance • Latino Sports

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No way to guess the All-Star MVP in advance

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FLUSHING, NY — When Maggie Linton interviewed me about the All-Star Game on Sirius XM Tuesday morning, she asked me to predict which player would be named Most Valuable Player.

I declined, as gracefully as I could, and stated only that the MVP would probably be player who entered the game later — perhaps with the kind of productive pinch-hit that won Brian McCann All-Star Game MVP honors in Anaheim a few years back.

An All-Star in his first six seasons, Brian McCann should have been invited again

Brian McCann won All-Star MVP honors in Anaheim with a bases-clearing double

McCann’s pinch-double cleared the bases, scoring the only three runs the pitching-rich National League needed.

He’s here again, an All-Star for the seventh time in his eight-year career, but only as a replacement for injured Atlanta teammate Freddie Freeman.

With 39 first-time All-Stars and managers trying to use as much of their 34-man roster as possible, the MVP might be someone who emulates Fred McGriff’s game-tying pinch-homer or a latter-day Carl Hubbell who strikes out six straight sluggers.

To be sure, the American League lineup is loaded with power. Chris Davis, Baltimore’s sudden slugger, has 37 home runs and a real chance sail well past 60 before the season ends.

Miguel Cabrera is chasing his second straight Triple Crown. Photo Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Miguel Cabrera is chasing his second straight Triple Crown. Photo Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Miguel Cabrera, the AL third baseman, would be the odds-on favorite for a second straight Triple Crown if Davis had not usurped the home run leadership. No one in baseball history has ever won the rare Triple two years in a row.

There are also sentimental favorites for MVP honors. David Wright, captain of the hometown Mets, selected the National League participants in the Home Run Derby and was a surprise selection as cleanup hitter for the NL All-Stars.

Mets teammate Matt Harvey, leading the league in strikeouts, is also a sentimental favorite for the coveted trophy. But he could be long gone before it’s new owner is determined.

Then there’s Mariano Rivera, the fabled Yankees closer, who has more saves than any closer in baseball history. He’ll get into the game but will AL pilot Jim Leyland save him for a potentially meaningless ninth or insert him into a more critical spot earlier in the game?

Image Credit: Daniel Budasoff

It’s the last All-Star Game for Mariano Rivera. Image Credit: Daniel Budasoff

Another local MVP candidate is Robinson Cano, the slugging second baseman of the Yankees. If he has a big game, as Derek Jeter did in the 2000 All-Star Game at Atlanta, Cano could be a strong contender for the trophy.

Or maybe, just maybe, the honor will befall a player unfamiliar to most fans. Perhaps a Steve Delabar, the Toronto set-up man, or Jose Fernandez, the Miami starter who started the season in the minors, will rise to the occasion.

No matter what transpires, the weather promises to cooperate. Hazy, hot, and humid conditions persist under the Bermuda High enveloping the East Coast but there’s virtually no chance for the summer thunderstorms that have short-circuited All-Star Games in the past. It should be a great night.

 

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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