The All-Star Game is no Longer Necessary

Arch Ward, a Chicago sportswriter, birthed the All Star Game so fans in at least one city could get to see the top stars from the other league. That was going on 70 years ago. Interleague play for real has made the All Star Game totally obsolete other than for a midsummer breather for teams.

But the summer pause is a good time to see how our favored teams have done so far and to speculate on how they might fare in the second half.

For the Dodgers, it is truly of a glass half full or half empty.

One LA writer puts the blame on all the hitters but added the young players haven't improved on last year - yet.

We look at the glass as being half full rather than half empty.

Not one of the vaunted rookies -- with the exception of pitching sensation Clayton Kershaw (and that is the fault of the front office not of Kershaw) was disappointing in any way or have suffered from the sophomore jinx. The LA writer says every one of them should be considered in trades. We continue to think none of them should be.

A pitching staff with aging Saito, plagued by midseason injury, and guys named Troncoso, Falkenborg, Wade and, yes, even Stults, on the big league roster is NOT going to frighten anybody.

The team, if it is mediocre, is mediocre because it was put together in a mediocre fashion by the front office. (Does that remind you of Gertrude Stein, the ersatz Oakland heiress-poet who said "a rose is a rose is a rose"? Heck she wasn't a poet for an overfed stutterer. And that itself is an apt description for Ned Colletti's choices -- overfed stutterers.

Will Jason Schmidt get suddenly healthy in the second half and repay the very first dividend on his $45 millions of Dodgers dollars? He will not.

Can you expect a lot out of Brad Penny in the second half? Don't hold your breath. His greatest value has passed and he's gone from solid to iffy. Where once he'd have brought a significant return, that time has passed.

Will 40 year old Jeff Kent find over the break what Ponce de Leon and others have sought for centuries, the fountain of youth? He will not.

Will still overweight Andrew Jones be the once svelte athlete he used to be? Well, there's a better chance of the Dodgers returning to Vero Beach!

Could fragile Nomar Garciaparra, now diagnosed with a healing disorder, be able to play for any appreciable time in the second half? If you think so, P.T. Barnum is looking for you. Will Juan Pierre, when he returns suddenly have learned to throw a baseball? Nope, and nope again.

The Dodgers hopes in the second half are tied inextricably to the kids, not the oldsters. In 1941, a gang of oldsters scratched their way to the National League Championship, but the 2008 Dodgers are not the 1941 gang, nor are they likely to be.

Can the Dodgers win with a leadoff hitter likely to pass 175 strikeouts (Matt Kemp)? That's like inventing a new baseball insight and reinventing Richie Sexton as a leadoff hitter. But for all his whiffs, Kemp is instrumental to the Dodgers future.

James Loney has 50 RBI in the first half and has shown to be a second half hitter. Youngster Andre Ethier will hit, as he always does, if, and this is a mighty big if, manager Joe Torre resists the pressure to put both Pierre and Jones in the same starting outfield too often.

Chad Billingsley, only 23, might have had even more than 9 wins had the Dodgers had him in the starting rotation from day one.

While Clayton Kershaw finally found his first win, at Jacksonville, Not Los angeles, the kid with the electric stuff wouldn't come close to matching Brad Penny's losses had been around from April one.

Can or will the Dodgers capitalize on being in baseball's worst division and trailing the equally disappointing Arizona team but a single game?

It's hard to tell, as baseball is a funny game sometimes. But says here they can't if the powers that be continue to send up the Mark Sweeney-types in the dozen or more critical at bats that are largely to determine second half play.

Go kids.

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