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Day O' Updates: Star of the Game
2007-06-24 13:04
by Philip Michaels

Let's change the subject from the Milton Bradley -- the A's would sure appreciate that -- in part because the situation remains in flux (Bradley's traded to Kansas City! Nope, he's injured again!), in part because I hate being asked to wildly speculate, and because I don't much care for the free pass Billy Beane has gotten on this and I'm bound to say something impolite. The way some A's fans treat Oakland's GM makes the ancient Israelites' treatment of the Golden Calf look like a low-key fan club. What was it that Vida Blue once said about Alvin Dark? I knew he was a religious man, but he's worshipping the wrong god?

I'm inching closer to being impolite, aren't I?

We're not going to talk about the action on the field either -- not with the A's getting trounced Friday (keep it close, boys, maintain dignity), wasting another excellent Joe Blanton outing Saturday (maybe you shouldn't leave your feet in that situation, Travis Buck), and going through the motions (at least for the first two innings) of today's game. So what can we talk about, giving these restrictions and the fact that I'm in a lousy mood after being involved in an auto accident yesterday where the other drive went across a double yellow line to smash into us and then, when we requested that he pull over to exchange insurance information, sped off in the opposite direction? (To be fair, by driving off, he probably gave us all the information about his auto insurance that we were going to get.)

Let's check the progress of an arbitrary stat that I made up that beginning of the year.

Readers of the increasingly infrequent Game Summaries will know that I name a Star of the Game for each contest. Here's how I described it in that very first Game Summary:

When I keep score of a game, I always put a star next to the player who I feel contributed most to the outcome, whether it's an Athletic or one of the villains. Because I'm an extra brand of nerdy, I usually turn to the person I'm attending the game with and announce, "So and so is the X Star of the Game," where X is the name of the frosty beverage I've been enjoying during the contest. This unfortunate habit has translated to the game logs I keep for my online calendar, and now, gentle readers, I share my madness with you.

So doubtlessly, you are wondering, 73 games into the season, just who on the Oakland squad is bogarting all those Star of the Game honors. You are not wondering this? You are not helping my mood very much.

Anyhow, here's how it breaks down, though June 23.

Oakland A's Stars of the Game


Jack Cust
Dan Haren


Eric Chavez
Chad Gaudin
Nick Swisher


Joe Blanton
Travis Buck
Santiago Casilla
Mark Ellis
Dan Johnson
Jason Kendall


Dallas Braden
Kiko Calero
Bobby Crosby
Lenny DiNardo
Alan Embree
Rich Harden
Mike Piazza
Marco Scutaro
Shannon Stewart
Todd Walker

Haren's place at the top of the list is self-explanatory. Jack Cust might raise a few eyebrows, but one of the biases of the Star of the Game system is that it tends to favor guys who have game-winning hits. If it helps explain things, two of Cust's Star of the Game designations came in May in the midst of his Roy Hobbs imitation.

I'm surprised that Eric Chavez is a three-time winner because my perception is that he's kind of been a non-entity at this point in the year -- a sinkhole, as Ken describes his performance. I guess that's the advantage of timing an occasional hit when there's a runner on base in a tight game. If I gave out Star of Game honors to the A's for losses, Joe Blanton would easily have five -- there's Saturday's game against the Mets, the Curt Schilling near-no-hitter, and the 2-0 loss to Seattle back in April in which Blanton went the distance. But only the guy on a winning team gets Star of the Game honors, so Blanton's back with the rest of the pack.

Interesting that two guys who are no longer on the active roster -- Dallas Braden and Todd Walker -- have as many Star of the Game distinctions as regulars Bobby Crosby and Shannon Stewart.

As for the Bad Guys as Hawk Harrelson might say, the very nature of the Star of the Game award makes it unlikely that opposing players pick up repeat honors. Nevertheless, two non-A's have pulled off the feat this year -- Jim Thome, in the April 9 and May 22 games, and Mike Sweeney, whose two winning performances came in just over a week of each other. Oakland plays both the White Sox and the Royals again this season, giving both Thome and Sweeney a chance to pull off the never-before-seen opposing player three-peat.

For those you keeping track of how the A's are hastening my descent into the bottle -- remember, Star of the Game honors are sponsored by whatever refreshing beverage I happen to be enjoying at the time -- here's how the Star of the Game sponsorship honors breaks down through 73 games.

Wine: 23
Beer: 20
Soda: 15
Other: 7
Spirits: 5
Milk: 2

You wouldn't know it, but that's a surprisingly strong showing for milk. The way this season is shaping up, I expect spirits to make a strong run leading up to the All-Star break.

2007-06-25 00:20:29
1.   Benjamin Miracord
Does Anaheim's win over Pittsburgh on Sunday now guarantee that the Heavyweight Champ will come from the American League?
2007-06-25 07:24:24
2.   Philip Michaels
1 Not to steal Ken's thunder, but yes -- that's exactly what it means.

I believe that means the Heavyweight Champ will come from the AL for at least the third year in a row.

2007-06-25 07:43:51
3.   Ken Arneson
2 Actually, it probably doesn't guarantee it. There are about 88 games left, and we could probably mathematically split them so that no team ends up with more wins than the Cubs, who are currently in first place with 10. But the Angels already have eight, and are the current champs, so the odds of having no club pass the Cubs are probably pretty low.
2007-06-25 07:45:28
4.   Ken Arneson
Oops, sorry, forgot I hadn't updated yesterday's game. The Angels have nine wins now, making the odds of no one passing the Cubs even lower.

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