Red Sox, Cubbies in heaven with 7 set to shine in NY
Posted: Monday, July 7, 2008 4:37 pm
By: By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Perhaps Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon and several Boston teammates should have stored their gear at Yankee Stadium this weekend.
They’re coming back real soon.
The World Series champion Red Sox will bring seven players to the home of their biggest rival for the All-Star game on July 15.
The Chicago Cubs also wound up with seven when rosters were announced Sunday, perhaps further evidence this really is a charmed season for them.
“They love me everywhere, what can I tell you?” Ramirez said. “That’s why I’m here. I guess I’m not stealing money.”
Said New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez: “It’s going to be weird having them in our locker room.”
Rodriguez led all players in fan voting for starting spots, as he did last year.
The Tampa Bay Rays, the team with the best record in the majors, did not have a single player elected to start — pitcher Scott Kazmir and catcher Dioner Navarro made the AL squad.
“Picking the All-Star team, it’s normally based on individual performance,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “You can look at our group, individually we don’t necessarily stand out, and that’s OK. As a team, we totally stand out. I would much prefer that formula as opposed to the individual formula.”
“We’re definitely having to turn the corner in a lot of regards. Part of that is recognition. It’s nobody’s fault but our own that’s it’s finally occurring now.”
The Yankees will be well represented in their ballpark’s final year.
Next season, a new Yankee Stadium will be constructed and this is the final All-Star game in the “House that Ruth Built.”
Rodriguez will be joined by Yankees captain Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera.
“It’s more than just an All-Star game, it’s like a celebration of Yankee Stadium,” Jeter said of his nod to the team.
There was only one change in the last week of fan voting for starters — Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun overtook Ken Griffey Jr. in the NL outfield.
Griffey finished fourth and was left off the team.
The 1958 Yankees hold the record with nine players in an All-Star game.
The Cubs and Red Sox came close this time.
“To be able to represent the Red Sox with that number of Red Sox will be very exciting,” AL manager Terry Francona of Boston said. “I’m very proud of that.”
Outfielders Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano and rookie catcher Geovany Soto were chosen to start for the Cubs, who own the best record in the league.
Soriano has been out with a broken left hand, but may return in time to play.
Cubs pitchers Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster and third baseman Aramis Ramirez were chosen by NL players, and pitcher Carlos Zambrano was picked by NL manager Clint Hurdle of Colorado.
“It’s flattering,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We’ve played well the first half and these guys that are going are, in a way, largely responsible. We have a few others but these guys have all done their jobs and done them well, and they’re being rewarded.”
The Cubs, trying to win their first World Series in 100 years, put six players into the All-Star game on two previous occasions in 1988 and 1936.
Boston’s David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Ramirez were elected by fans. Ortiz is on the disabled list with an injured wrist but will attend; Francona said Texas’ Milton Bradley would become the designated hitter.
Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, catcher Jason Varitek and Papelbon, their closer, were picked by a vote of AL players.
Varitek, batting .218 with seven home runs and 27 RBI, appreciated the support of his peers.
“I mean I can’t be the judge. I’m flattered my peers think of me that way,” he said before Boston’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Yankees on Sunday even ing.
The AL starters: Youkilis at first base, Pedroia at second base, Jeter at shortstop, Rodriguez at third base, outfielders Josh Hamilton of Texas, Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle and Ramirez, and Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer.
Starting for the NL: Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, with Soriano, Fukudome and Braun in the outfield.
Soto will become the first rookie catcher to start for the NL.
Utley, who leads the major leagues in home runs, was the NL’s top vote-getter.
Hamilton, whose 84 RBI are most in the majors, was among 14 first-time AL stars.
Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez, traded for Hamilton in the offseason, is among the NL’s 11 newcomers.
“If it weren’t for the fans coming out and watching us, supporting us, we wouldn’t be doing this for a living,” Hamilton said.
An Internet vote this week will determine the 32nd player on both rosters.
The AL candidates: outfielders Jermaine Dye and Jose Guillen, first baseman Jason Giambi, second baseman Brian Roberts and third baseman Evan Longoria. The NL candidates: outfielders Pat Burrell, Corey Hart, Carlos Lee and Aaron Rowand and third baseman David Wright.
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, Colorado third baseman Garrett Atkins, Detroit outfielder Magglio Ordonez and Boston third baseman Mike Lowell were among the top players left out.
Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 3.12 ERA), the Yankees’ Mike Mussina (11-6, 3.64) and St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse (10-2, 3.61) also were left off.
Once again, the league that wins the All-Star game will get home-field advantage in the World Series.
The AL has not lost an All-Star game since 1996 at Veterans Stadium.
Since then, the AL has won 10 and tied one.
Overall, in All-Star play, the NL leads 40-36-2.