If baseball handled its All-Star Game like hockey does

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I am not a hockey fan — I knew very little about it actually — but I am fascinated with the way they’ve handled their All-Star Game in recent years.  They used to do that North America vs. the World thing.  Now they pick a couple of captains who choose their squads, playground style.  Very cool.

Today over at FanGraphs Jonah Keri — who knows from hockey, what with him being a Canuck and all — and Dave Cameron give baseball’s All-Star Game the NHL treatment.  You can probably guess that Albert Pujols was selected first.  After that there’s a lot of room for fun debate.

I like it, but I hate that they’ve imported the “everyone must play” rule that has come to dominate the real All-Star Game. If we’re going to change things, let’s change everything and mandate that this brave new hypothetical world of All-Star Games not require the pansy player usage patterns we’ve come to expect in the Midsummer Classic.  As such — and because this is a one-game affair — a starting pitcher would have to be my first pick.

Give me Roy Halladay.  I’ll pitch him seven or eight innings and the other side will be toast.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.