Any Yankee fan with an internet connection has been inundated with pleas to Send Swish to the All Star game. The Yankees official website is decorated with like a Christmas tree with Swisher icons, and just about every fan site or blog has done a post recently imploring its readers to vote Nick a ticket to Anaheim, including ours.
Meanwhile, the Yankee coaching staff seems to be doing everything possible to make a mockery of the event that the PR department seems so committed to with Nick. Batting Coach Kevin Long voiced his displeasure with Robinson Cano’s decision to participate in the Home Run Derby, fearing it would get him “fatigued”. Lo and behold, Robbie comes up with a “lower back injury” yesterday and pulls out of the event. This comes on the heels of Mariano Rivera pulling out of the ASG altogether, citing a rib cage injury among other various aches and pains. Curiously enough, the Yanks aren’t overly concerned with injuries to the only consistent reliever they have on their staff, and arguably the most important Yankee over the past 15 years. Injuries that are apparently so severe they’re preventing him from getting on a plane from Seattle to Anaheim (shorter flight than to New York) and pitching a single inning over a 4 day span.
This is certainly not unique to the Yanks. Aging stars have been pulling out of the All Star Game for years. Sluggers have been pulling out of the Home Run Derby on an annual basis. Of course, Bud Selig doesn’t like this, the ASG is a worldwide showcase of the sport and MLB wants it to have as much credibility as possible. That’s why Bud added the World Series home field advantage carrot to the festivities, to encourage the participants to take it more seriously, or at the very least show up. Bud has also been known to give an earful to teams that have encouraged players to pull out of the event. So now we have teams inventing injuries, as a way to avoid getting in trouble with Bud and keep their players out of events they don’t want them to participate in.
Can you make a mockery out of an exhibition? Baseball certainly seems to try its best.
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