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The Yankees announced today that the team will wear patches on their uniforms remembering owner George Steinbrenner, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, and long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who passed away Sunday at the age of 99.

The Steinbrenner patch will be placed above each player’s heart – over the interlocking NY on home jerseys, and above the word “YORK” on away jerseys.  The Sheppard patch will be worn on each player’s left sleeve.

I’m watching the all-star game right now and it appears that each Yankee has a black armband on his left sleeve in honor of Steinbrenner’s passing.

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So what if 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park?  Major League Baseball thinks Kansas City is more deserving of the All Star game in 2012 because they, well, exist.  Commish Bud Selig announced yesterday that the Kansas City Royals would host the 2012 mid-summer classic.

Kansas City had been promised an All-Star game in 2006 after KC voters approved a financing plan to pay for renovations to Kaufmann Stadium.  The Stadium re-opened in 2009 boasting millions in improvements, including a giant big screen to rival that at the new Yankee stadium.

Now that the renovations have been completed, it appears Selig is following through on his promise to award KC with the game, despite what he said were “compelling” reasons to hold the game in Boston.  If you feel that the All-Star game was just at Fenway, you’re right.  The last game there was held in 1999.

If I was a Red Sox fan I would probably be upset by this, but at the end of the day, I think Selig made the right decision.  Boston (and New York) get a lot of extra benefits that most teams don’t because of who they are and how much their tradition means to the game of baseball.  Despite this, it was right for Selig to follow through on the promise he made to the people of Kansas City.  Plus, you cannot hold an all-star game in the same place twice in 13 years when there are 30 clubs in the league.  It has to be somewhat fair.

Still, I like to see Red Sox fans in a huff about this.

  • Most of the league gets back from the All-Star break Thursday, but the Yankees have the day off before beginning a 9 game home stand against Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland.  Ideally, the Yankees can take 7 or more games and try to catch up to Boston in the AL East standings.  The Red Sox play their next 6 at Toronto and Texas and lead the Yanks by 3 games.
  • The American League won their seventh straight All-Star game Tuesday night, in a game that lasted a mere 2 hours and 30 minutes.  The AL has not lost in 13 years – 7 straight wins, then the infamous tie game in 2002, and then 5 straight wins dating back to 1997.
  • Mariano Rivera earned the save for the AL, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the 4-3 win.  Mo also had a strikeout.  Carl Crawford earned the MVP honors mostly for his phenomenal home run-stealing catch.  He was also 1-3 at the plate.
  • Damaso Marte, the Yankees oft-injured reliever has begun a rehab assignment this week in the Gulf Coast League.  No word on when the Yankees plan to bring him back into the bullpen.  Marte, a lefty, signed a multi-year contract in the off season but has not appeared in the big leagues since April 25.  He began the season on the DL, joined the roster, posted an ERA over 15.00 and was placed back on the DL on April 25.  Needless to say, I could care less if he comes back or not.

In a press release issued today, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees have announced that four of their players, Shelly Duncan, Austin Jackson, Chris Stewart and John Rodriguez currently lead their respective positions in all-star votes.  At this time, Juan Miranda and pitcher Mark Melancon trail by only a few votes.

In AAA baseball, the fan’s votes count 33%.  The Media (33%) and managers (33%) make up the final voting percentages to choose all-star starters.

Melancon was on the Yankees staff earlier this season and did pitch well.  Jackson is in his first year at Triple-A and is doing well.  Duncan was a major leaguer for awhile and has a ton of potential, which unfortunately has been unrealized everytime he is on the Yankees squad.

I can’t speak about the other players – I don’t know much about them – but take 2 minutes and head to this website to vote Yankees!

Two quick notes to check out as you check the balloting. Derek Jeter is now in first place of all AL players. Mark Teixeria is now ahead of Kevin Youkilis by nearly 35,000 votes. This ain’t over yet…vote, people!

Here is the updated AL All-Star voting from MLB.com.

2009 MLB All-Star Balloting : American League

1st Base
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Mark Teixeira Yankees 1,561,292
2. Kevin Youkilis Red Sox 1,525,660
3. Justin Morneau Twins 1,275,694
4. Miguel Cabrera Tigers 944,855
5. Chris Davis Rangers 632,895

2nd Base
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Ian Kinsler Rangers 1,791,177
2. Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 1,732,787
3. Robinson Cano Yankees 1,062,863
4. Aaron Hill Blue Jays 775,200
5. Placido Polanco Tigers 660,693

3rd Base
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Evan Longoria Rays 2,488,076
2. Alex Rodriguez Yankees 1,165,243
3. Michael Young Rangers 933,630
4. Mike Lowell Red Sox 890,138
5. Brandon Inge Tigers 535,226

Shortstop
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Derek Jeter Yankees 2,563,093
2. Jason Bartlett Rays 1,148,988
3. Elvis Andrus Rangers 844,349
4. Marco Scutaro Blue Jays 684,883
5. Jed Lowrie Red Sox 459,732

Catcher
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Joe Mauer Twins 2,298,544
2. Jason Varitek Red Sox 1,108,054
3. Jorge Posada Yankees 947,887
4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia Rangers 827,063
5. Victor Martinez Indians 754,571

Outfield
Rank Player Name Team Total Votes
1. Jason Bay Red Sox 2,077,504
2. Ichiro Suzuki Mariners 1,455,266
3. Josh Hamilton Rangers 1,385,212
4. Torii Hunter Angels 1,186,097
5. Carl Crawford Rays 1,172,241
6. Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox 1,051,270
7. Johnny Damon Yankees 1,021,394
8. Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners 1,009,584
9. Nelson Cruz Rangers 956,294
10. Adam Jones Orioles 894,664
11. J.D. Drew Red Sox 818,459
12. Nick Markakis Orioles 756,316
13. Curtis Granderson Tigers 641,102
14. Grady Sizemore Indians 626,014
15. Bobby Abreu Angels 614,244

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