Did Girardi purposely snub Youkilis from the All-Star Game?

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When Twins first baseman Justin Morneau bowed out of next week’s All-Star game due to a mild concussion, many Red Sox fans were hoping that Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis would be named as his replacement. 

After all, Youk finished a close second on MLB’s “Final Vote” ballot to Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and is plenty deserving of an All-Star nod given the fact that his 987 OPS ranks fifth-best among all major leaguers and his 18 homers and 57 RBI also stand near the top of the league.

Red Sox Nation is up in arms tonight, as White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was selected to take Morneau’s spot instead.  This according to an MLB.com press release.

Konerko is having a heck of a season, with a .299/.382/.560 batting line, 20 home runs and 63 RBI through 291 at-bats.  He has been a big part of the White Sox’s resurgence in the American League Central and there’s little doubt that he is also deserving of an All-Star nod. 

But the fact is Youkilis has been better, and his versatility on the infield might have proven helpful in the later innings of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.  Did Yanks skipper Joe Girardi, who is managing the American League squad on Tuesday, snub the Red Sox first baseman on purpose?  Or is he simply a fan of more traditional statistics, like the home run and RBI?  We’re thinking the latter, but, either way, selecting Konerko over Youk was probably a misguided move for the sake of that whole “This One Counts” nonsense.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.