Reds feel they were intentionally snubbed by National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa

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Tony La Russa, the honorary manager of this year’s National League All-Star team, got to hand-select only nine of the players for his roster. And he had to be sure that every organization was represented.

He went with left-hander Wade Miley (as the Diamondbacks’ only rep), outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (as the Marlins’ only rep), Huston Street (as the Padres’ only rep), then grabbed Jonathan Papelbon, Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies, Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers, Ian Desmond from the Nationals and Jay Bruce from the Reds.

All fine choices (and zero Cardinals). But Cincy apparently believes the fix was in.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker indicated Sunday that he thinks La Russa intentionally skipped over Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips because of their involvement in a number of altercations over the years with the team that Tony used to manage:

“I don’t understand that one,” said Baker. “A snub like that looks bad. Johnny and Brandon were at the center of skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of the Cardinals who aren’t there anymore are making some of the selections.”

Cueto, who ended Jason LaRue’s career with repeated kicks to the head during a benches-clearing incident between the Cards and Reds in August 2010, had his own interpretation of the All-Star snub. More from Fay:

“I see that I have great numbers,” said Cueto. “I thought the way I pitched this year, I’d have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if the manager of All-Star Game is pissed at me because I went out with one of his girlfriends.

I don’t know if they base their selection on the brawl. That’s not the way it should be. … They should pick and choose players by their numbers.”

Cueto has a 2.26 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 107 2/3 innings this year. Phillips declined to talk to the media.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.