July 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; National League infielder Rafael Furcal (15) of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into third base with a triple as American League infielder Adrian Beltre (29) of the Texas Rangers gestures in the fourth inning of the 2012 MLB All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

2012 MLB All-Star Game: N.L. Defeats A.L. 8-0

San Francisco Giants OF Melky Cabrera took home the MVP award.

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2012 MLB All-Star Game: Tony La Russa And The Cardinals Win One More Time

If the 2012 MLB All-Star Game was the last we'll see of Tony La Russa in the dugout, count this St. Louis Cardinals fan satisfied. Not only did La Russa and the National League roll to an 8-0 victory; not only did the Cardinals who played--Matt Holliday, David Freese, Carlos Beltran, and Rafael Furcal--all play a role in said victory; but The Genius went out the way he came in, with a ton of strange pitching changes and an undeniable track record of success.

Melky Cabrera was the deserving MVP, capping off a return from the prospect wilderness with an All-Star Game home run, but you'll have to forgive those of us in St. Louis for imagining this as one last run from the Tony La Russa-Dave Duncan tandem that powered more than a decade of Cardinals success. When La Russa gave his giddy postgame interview and sounded, for once, like someone completely unworried by conspiracies or perceived slights--well, the 2011 World Series finally sank in for me.

That's what last year was about, in hindsight: One more season consumed by questions of Albert Pujols's legacy, one more trip through the comically intense La Russa ringer. If this season has felt, so far, like a mostly successful hangover, I think this was the closure I needed.

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MLB All-Star Game 2012: Tony La Russa Takes Heat For Not Starting R.A. Dickey

It's not often that Tony La Russa has taken heat, as a manager, for being too conventional, but in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game the National League manager--in what might be his final gig ever--has taken some heat for not starting a knuckleballer. R.A. Dickey, the New York Mets' 37-year-old, 12-1, knuckleball-throwing ace, will be entering the game second, behind San Francisco Giants stalwart Matt Cain.

Mets fans are justified in their angst; Dickey's been outstanding, and he's a better story, and for the average All-Star Game that's really all that matters. But here's one thing I think people are overestimating: How much people care about who started the All-Star Game after the All-Star Game is played.

Being an All-Star is a permanent honor; people will always know how many All-Star Games you were named to, and that number will follow you around forever. Starting the All-Star Game, though? I can't remember, if I'm being honest, who did that last year. So get mad at Tony La Russa, by all means; that's what he's there for. But I don't think Dickey is being kept from something that will, say, define the rest of his year, let alone the rest of his life.

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2012 MLB All-Star Game Final Vote: David Freese Leads NL Voting With Chipper Jones Out

With Chipper Jones in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in place of the injured Matt Kemp, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese leads remaining NL Final Vote contestants ahead of polling's Thursday close. Freese, who's hitting .286/.334/.479 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI a year after his incredible World Series performance, isn't a conventional All-Star, but he remains ahead of Michael Bourn, Aaron Hill, and--perhaps most surprisingly--Bryce Harper now that Jones, who's retiring following the 2012 season, is out of the vote.

Freese, who hit .397/.465/.794 last season in a postseason performance few players have ever matched, is just a month's starts away from playing 100 games for the first time in his career--as nice as it's been to finally see the power he promised as a minor leaguer develop, the most impressive thing about Freese's performance so far has been his ability to stay in the lineup.

(So if he misses the All-Star Game, and is therefore fractions of a percent less likely to break both his ankles in some terrible accident--well, I won't begrudge the people who give their Final Votes to Bourn or Hill.)

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2012 MLB All-Star Snubs: Buster Posey Blocks Two Superior Catchers

Since this is SB Nation St. Louis, most indignation re: 2012 MLB All-Star snubs at catcher is going to involve Buster Posey beating Yadier Molina in the fan vote despite having a clearly inferior season. Which is all true, but not all the truth--a certain Carlos Ruiz is off to a Norm Cash-ian fluke season at 33, hitting .358/.423/.585 through 71 games. He's not quite that transcendent, though his OBP is always great, but it's hard not to reward a catcher who's leading the majors in batting average at the All-Star break. Especially when he's named Chooch.

So I guess I'll have to be both indignant about Posey's win and inconsistent about Chooch's loss, at least if I'm going to maintain the proper fan attitude toward the All-Star Game--that is, ruthless partisanship. I hope Philadelphia Phillies fans, in the course of their own partisanship, will understand my lapse in reason when I suggest that Yadier Molina was robbed, and that Buster Posey should be ashamed of himself, and that's just all there is to say about the catching situation on the 2012 National League All-Star team.

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2012 MLB All-Star Starters: Buster Posey Edges Yadier Molina In Fan Vote

The Buster Posey partisans won out: Yadier Molina was denied the make-believe honor of being a 2012 MLB All-Star Game starter Sunday afternoon, when the San Francisco Giants' popular catcher edged him out of the fan vote a year after coming back from a gruesome injury. He's having a fine year--hitting .296/.363/.472, with 10 home runs and 40 RBI--but it's hard to argue with the Platinum-Gloved Molina, who's hitting .311/.362/.510 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in addition to his usual stellar defense. (He was chosen as a reserve.) The St. Louis Cardinals weren't shut out of All-Star voting, though, which means somebody at Busch Stadium was doing something right.

RIght fielder Carlos Beltran, who leads the National League with 61 RBI and has 20 home runs to go with them, will start in the outfield, while another veteran acquisition, shortstop Rafael Furcal, gets a start on the infield. It's Beltran's seventh All-Star Game, and Furcal's third. Sophomore starter Lance Lynn rounds out the Cardinals' All-Star delegation; he'll take his 10 wins to the bullpen--where he almost began the 2012 season.

For more 2012 All-Star Game coverage with a decided pro-Molina bent, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis.

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2012 MLB All Star Game: Four Cardinals Named To NL Team, Including Two Starters

The St. Louis Cardinals have put four players on the National League All Star Team for this year's upcoming All Star Game, as MLB announced on Sunday. Shortstop Rafael Furcal, right fielder Carlos Beltran, catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Lance Lynn are all part of this year's team, with Furcal and Beltran landing starting roles.

Beltran, 35, will be making his seventh appearance in the All Star Game as he continues his late-career resurgence with the Cardinals. Over 313 plate appearances this year, Beltran has hit .310/.396/.576 with 20 homers, 61 RBI and seven stolen bases.

Furcal, 34, is taking advantage of a weak year for shortstops around the league to make his first ever start in an All Star Game. He's appeared in two other games as a reserve, though, making this his third career appearance. Over 337 PA's this year, he's hit .280/.346/.377 with five homers and nine steals.

While those two are starting, Molina snagged a bench role after losing out in the fan vote to San Francisco's Buster Posey. Hitting .311/.362/.510 with 12 homers and seven steals over 281 PA's this year, he'll be making his fourth career appearance.

Lynn is the only pitcher to make the team for St. Louis, as he's posted a 10-4 record with a 3.62 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 34 walks over 16 starts this season. It's his first career appearance after making his MLB debut last season.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis. For more coverage of this series, head over to Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos.

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