All-Star snubs and storylines
But there are some really nice stories, too. Like with Reds reliever Arthur Rhodes. In 1996, the Orioles finally gave up in their effort to make Rhodes a starting pitcher, and he has thrived as a setup man for 15 years -- and now, at age 40, in the 20th year of his career, he's going to the All-Star Game for the first time. And somewhere, he will write down the initials JR, in memory of his son.
Evan Meek had always been known as a guy with a great arm, but had been inconsistent. But after conversations with Joe Kerrigan and others about improving his mental preparation -- about visualizing where he wanted to throw the ball -- Meek's command greatly improved. And now he's going to the All-Star Game, and it's well-deserved, given his first-half performance of an 0.85 WHIP and an 0.96 ERA. Meek was surprised to be picked.
Corey Hart had been the subject of many rumors after last season, and there was all kinds of concern about his swing and his (lack of) production, but Hart dug himself out, and at the halfway point of the season, he's on pace to drive in about 120 runs.
Elvis Andrus was handed the keys to the Texas Rangers' infield at the outset of the 2009 season, and by all accounts, he accepted the challenge and applied himself fully and has worked like crazy to become a better player, and he's being rewarded with his first All-Star selection.
OK, now that we've covered the warm and fuzzy stuff, the top All-Star snubs:
For Buster's take on the biggest snubs of the All-Star game, a bunch of other storylines, injury updates, game stories and a pile of other nuggets, you must be an ESPN Insider (which costs mere pennies a day).