You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but…..
Omar Infante is a good utility player, but does not deserve to be an All-Star. Not even close. I know I know, he is a valuable member of the Braves’ roster and has the propensity to deliver clutch hits in critical situations such as last Friday against the Marlins. Great. So does Ryan Zimmerman…or Josh Willingham…or how about the NL OPS leader Joey Votto? Of course Zimmerman or Votto will likely be the last player voted in by the fans, but that still leaves two of the other three that are not on the roster while Omar Infante is.
Perhaps Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel was drawn to the fact that Infante can play virtually every position on the diamond. After all, that, and not his singles bopping bat, is why he is so valuable to the Braves. But with the expanded rosters totaling 34 players per team, the need for a utility man becomes nonexistent as Manuel already has at least one backup at all of Omar’s positions.
In all fairness to the Phillies’ skipper, his hand was forced by the rule that every team has to have at least one All-Star. As a result he was forced to select Marlon Byrd (Cubs), Chris Young (D-Backs), and Michael Bourne (Astros), all of which are outfielders. But he should have picked our old friend Kelly Johnson from Arizona over Young, giving the squad more infield depth. Then he could have selected Zimmerman over Infante, giving the NL three players at second, third, and short each (as well as seven outfielders). Instead Manuel decided to carry a below league average hitter with an OPS of .717 on his roster.
From a Braves fan perspective, this is bittersweet. It is great to see one of our unsung heroes get nationally recognized, but we also need the NL to win this game. There is a good chance Infante will not get into the game, but if he does, I will be wishing that a better, more deserving player were up at the plate or out in the field.
Tags: All-Star Game, Omar Infante
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