It seemed like almost a sure thing that the Oakland Athletics would finally be represented at the Midsummer Classic by more than just one player, and perhaps even by a position player for the first time in 10 years. It was apparently not to be. Bartolo Colon will be the Athletics lone All-Star representative at Citi Field in New York on July 16th.
To say the snub of Grant Balfour and Josh Donaldson is a travesty would be grossly underestimating the ridiculousness of the situation. Balfour has not only converted all 22 of his save opportunities this year, but he has tied the franchise record for the Athletics with 40 consecutive saves dating back to last season. I’m not sure what else Balfour could have done to get elected aside from perhaps play for a different team.
Josh Donaldson on the other hand is a victim of the numbers game. He simply has the misfortune of playing the same position as Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, and Manny Machado. Longoria was also denied an invite to the festivities.
Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon has proven to be quite the story in the first half, and at the age of 40 has shown he can still get it done in the Show. While he did get suspended last year for use of PEDs, his performance in 2013 demonstrates that it takes more than just some synthetic testosterone to be successful at this level. It’s unfortunate that Bartolo will have to travel to New York alone, rather than alongside his deserving teammates.
Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie were also deserving of consideration for the team, but were largely ignored. Aside from injuries, there will be no chance for Donaldson to crack the AL roster as he is not on the Final Vote ballot. Balfour could get the nod if Bartolo is ineligible to pitch depending on when he makes his final start before the break.
Jim Leyland earned the right to select the team based on winning the AL pennant last year, but he lost a lot of credibility by not taking two extremely deserving Athletics players. Hopefully they get a chance to prove his decision wrong when the A’s travel to Detroit later this season.