Indians, Pirates deserve more All-Star selections

Michael Moses

Let’s be real. Before the season even started, the above tagline to this column would have been seen as a joke. Nobody in their right mind would have believed the Indians or the Pirates had All-Star-caliber players, let alone that both teams are above .500 in early July.

Well, it looks like baseball is officially back in our region. Cleveland boasts the best record in the American League Central at 45-38, and Pittsburgh is just 1.5 games back in the National League Central race. Both cities are thinking playoffs for the first time in a while, especially Pittsburgh, who in 2010 tied a North American pro sports record with its 18th-straight losing season.

In an area in which Indians and Pirates fans are equally lost on the All-Star selections, for once the rosters actually mean something to both cities. Cleveland pitcher Chris Perez and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera made the AL squad, while Pittsburgh produced pitcher Joel Hanrahan for the NL.

This may look like a positive sign for both teams, but underlying issues need to be stated. Both teams deserve more credit than what is shown with the current All-Star selections.

For one, the starting shortstop for the AL squad is the Yankees’ Derek Jeter. Obviously, Jeter is slightly more famous than the Indians’ Cabrera. This season, however, Cabrera is outproducing the future Hall of Famer. As of July 4, Cabrera’s .293 batting average, 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, .342 on-base percentage and .499 slugging percentage were all higher than the injured Jeter’s numbers (.256, 2, 20, .320, .320).

Jeter has been sidelined since June 14 with a strained right calf muscle. The Yankees legend is just four hits shy of 3,000, which would make him the 28th member of the sport’s prestigious club.

His living-legend status is undoubtedly what put him ahead of Cabrera as this year’s starting shortstop, because clearly Cabrera is having the better season. If the fans didn’t have a say in the voting, you may not have even seen Jeter’s name on this year’s All-Star roster.

On to Pittsburgh. The Pirates have a guy that runs like a deer in center field, patrolling PNC Park’s outfield like Roberto Clemente in his prime, yet he was snubbed of a position on the NL roster. Andrew McCutchen has a better batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and more stolen bases than both the Cincinnati Reds’ Jay Bruce and the New York Mets’ Carlos Beltran. Those two players will be enjoying their All-Star break in Arizona, wearing the All-Star jerseys, yet what most people will be talking about is how McCutchen should be in their position.

McCutchen is one of the brightest stars to shine in Pittsburgh in years, yet he won’t get a chance to showcase his skills at the national level. At a fresh 24 years of age, he’ll have plenty more opportunities to gain the attention of baseball fans.

This column may have had a complaining attitude about it, but once again, let’s look at what we’re discussing: Cleveland and Pittsburgh; Major League Baseball; All-Star weekend.

As a fan, I think we all should be happy this is even being published. Hopefully, a lot more of these are to come. With Cabrera and McCutchen leading the way, something tells me both cities are in good hands.

Michael Moses is a senior communication studies major. Contact him at [email protected].