An all-star game before there was The All-Star Game

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Despite the world getting smaller, print media dying and location not mattering all that much, I do make a point to read my local paper most mornings. Old habits die hard for old men.

Glad I read my Columbus Dispatch this morning, because there was a great story in there by AJ Mazzolini about a curious all-star game that took place well before there was any official All-Star Game in 1933. This game?  A benefit all-star game in which all of the biggest names of 1911 took on the Cleveland Naps to benefit the family of Addie Joss, the Naps’ star pitcher who died suddenly at the beginning of the 1911 season.

Unlike tonight’s game, which purports to “count” but really doesn’t, the July 24, 1911 all-star game truly did count for something special. Would that we could find a higher and better use for our current All-Star Game.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.