A-Rod would not turn the All-Star Game into a circus. It already is one.

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Fox’s Jon Morosi talks about A-Rod not making the All-Star team. He rightfully dismisses the idea that A-Rod should be kept out because of morals or PEDs or any of that stuff. And really, no one is arguing that he should be, even if he suffered some with fans because of that. But he still thinks it’s best that Rodriguez not be there.

Why?

1. The fans had their chance to vote him in. If they truly wanted him there, he would have finished higher than fifth among AL designated hitters — more than 7 million votes behind Cruz.

2. If A-Rod had been named to the All-Star team, he’d dominate much of the pregame discussion in Cincinnati. Would the debate draw greater attention to this year’s Midsummer Classic? Perhaps. But it would drain plenty of oxygen from what people who love the game should be discussing: the tremendous influx of young talent to the sport.

This seems really bizarre to me.

As for reason one, the All-Star Game has a bifurcated roster selection process for a reason. That reason is that the fans often don’t know what they’re doing. But more to the point, the fans pick eight or nine dudes. Each team has 34 guys on it. Why is it OK to say it’s good that A-Rod is not on the team because the fans didn’t want him there and not say the same thing about D.J. Lemahieu? They didn’t want him either. Or Brandon Crawford or A.J. Pollock? If a guy is worthy, he’s put on the team most of the time in spite of the fans not voting for him. That’s the whole design of the thing.

As for the second reason, isn’t Morosi here saying “we, the media, would be unable to do anything but talk about A-Rod if he were here and we need to be saved from ourselves?” Because last I checked, A-Rod — especially the bland, non-controversial version of him we’re seeing this year — isn’t doing much to force coverage other than the occasional “hey, he’s playing well” piece. Morosi himself talks about what people “should be discussing.” Why could he and everyone else discuss that and ignore the backup DH? Of course they could, but to admit that may force one to admit that all of the stuff said and written about A-Rod over the past couple of years is just as much media-driven as it is A-Rod driven.

More to the point, however, since when do we care if the All-Star Game is a circus? It’s already got military flyovers, celebrity softball tournaments, actual parades, an actual festival, gimmicky substitutions, multiple pop and country stars giving performances and Pete Freakin’ Rose.

Ultimately, I don’t care that A-Rod didn’t make it. Prince Fielder basically took his slot and Prince Fielder is having a really great year. And really, A-Rod could probably use a break anyway. If he were leading the league in five categories, fine, it’s a snub, but to be honest he’s having a good but not great season and a lot of guys who have seasons like this don’t make All-Star teams.

But in 2015, with a new commissioner and evolving sports preferences in the U.S., it is paramount that MLB leverage its All-Star Game into a stage for Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado. We need to learn more about their stories. By now, we’re familiar enough with the tale of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Dude, you’re the reporter and a TV personality for the network televising the entire thing. If you want us to learn about these stories, maybe tell us? Or does A-Rod run Fox too?

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.