Article originally appeared on Bleacher Report.
The first question fans of National League baseball should be asking themselves is: Why is a guy with no vested interest in who wins or loses the All-Star game allowed to manage the team, pick reserves and the pitching staff?
Because his Cardinals won the World Series, Tony LaRussa was granted that right. However, LaRussa retired after the Cards took the crown.
He did state at the beginning of the year that he would manage the All-Star game.
Now that Bud Selig, in his infinite wisdom, has turned what was formerly a play-to-play showcase game into a game that now “means something,” LaRussa has little interest in who hosts the World Series.
Why snub Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips? Simply put, a grudge. Specifically, a grudge that stemmed from a 2010 bench clearing brawl that must have shrunk LaRussa’s ego so much that he does not mind placing an inferior product on the field on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
A case could be made concerning the omission of Phillips. Dan Uggla won the fan vote. And since every team needs to be represented by at least one player, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is having the best season of any member of the woeful Astros.
Omitting Cueto, the guy who is currently fifth in the league with a 2.26 ERA and leading the category in the whole of the National League over the last two seasons, is like a fourth grade kickball captain not choosing the best player because the girl the captain likes is in love with the ringer.
On John Fay’s blog, Cueto chimed in with this gem, “I see that I have great numbers. I thought the way I pitched this year, I’d have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. I don’t know what happened. I don’t if know the manager of All-Star Game is pissed at me because I went out with one of his girlfriends.”
One has to wonder what current Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny is thinking right now.
We know what Reds’ manager Dusty Baker is saying, “A snub like that looks bad. Johnny and Brandon were at the center of a skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of Cardinals who aren’t there anymore are making some of the selections.”
Will this reignite the feud between the two teams that seemed to have simmered?