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.