The Braves and the All-Star Game
Two Atlanta Braves made the All-Star Game this year, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones, and four others have made trips in years past: Mark Teixeira, Tim Hudson, and the injured Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. This will be Brian's
second third trip in a row and second third overall ( both all three as a backup), and Chipper's sixth overall (fifth as a starter) but first appearance in seven years . Teixeira is a one-time All-Star (he started in 2005), Hudson's a two-time All-Star (both as a backup), Glavine's a ten-time All-Star (two starts in a row, 1991-92), and Smoltz is an eight-time All-Star (he started in 1996).
So how have they done in the Midsummer Classic? Well... some better than others. Chipper's torn it up when he's played, with a homer, three singles and a walk in 11 plate appearances, for a nice line of .400/.455/.700. (In case you'd forgotten why he's an All-Star, so far this season he's hitting .376/.472/.614, which basically isn't human.) Much of that was his sparkling 3-3 perfomance in the 2000 All-Star Game at Turner Field, when he hit the only home run of the game and accounted for a third of the NL's hits. He was held hitless in two at-bats in 2001, his last appearance.
On the other hand, Brian McCann's batting .000 in two at-bats in his brief All-Star career, but if he stays at the level he's playing -- the best catcher in the National League, and only 24 -- he'll have plenty more chances to hit a few dying quails and get a positive number to the right of the decimal point.
Tom Glavine has had many more chances to screw up, and he has taken full advantage to put up some of the ugliest numbers of any player with his number of selections. His numbers this year wouldn't let him sniff the game even if he were healthy, but that's probably best: he's given up 16 hits and 9 earned runs in 8 innings over six appearances -- maybe that's why he was left on the bench four other times he was selected.
Smoltz has been much better, and might have been headed to the game this year if his shoulder had held up. In his six appearances (he was left on the bench twice), he gave up 7 hits and only 2 runs in 5 2/3 innings, including two scoreless in his 1996 start.
Tim Hudson's lifetime All-Star ERA is 0.00, but it's not clear when batters will ever have another chance to damage it. He was left on the bench during his last All-Star selection in 2004, though he pitched a perfect inning in his first All-Star Game in 2000. Mark Teixeira made the most of his one appearance in 2005, going 1-3 with a two-run homer off Dontrelle Willis, but he'll stay home this time.
It looks unlikely that the Braves will be representing the National League in the World Series this year, but pride is still important, and Brian and Chipper can help make sure the NL team -- whoever it is -- has home field advantage in the Series. Because the one thing I hate as much as the Braves losing is seeing the AL win. Let's do it for the Senior Circuit, guys.