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Column: Good to see four Braves players on All-Star roster

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.

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There is a coach around here known for saying, “it is what it is.”

That could easily be said about the All-Star voting in Major League Baseball.

The All-Star squads for the American and National leagues were released Sunday night, well in advance of the annual Mid-Summer Classic set for next Tuesday evening in the nation’s capital.

Hopefully, you know where that is. If not, do what you usually do. Google it.

But, I’d better not digress. I do wonder, though, if Donald Trump will be there, and would he maybe be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch?

Of course, as usual, the release of the rosters did not go off without controversy as several players were snubbed and didn’t get voted in by the fans or the players.

And in some cases, the rules that call for every team to be represented on their respective league’s roster played a part in that.

I know you can’t exactly judge whether a team might win the World Series based on the number of All-Stars they have on the roster, especially since the fan-voting is more of a popularity contest than it is a meaningful vote.

Yep, it is what it is.

But, often times the guys putting up the big numbers are also the players who are the most popular in the current game.

I remember going to old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium several times growing up for a Braves game prior to the All-Star Game and voting on my favorite players on those ballots that resembled a Scantron test.

And back then, I knew more about the players than I do now, honestly. And thus, I would make some pretty educated picks, though my love affair for Dale Murphy wouldn’t allow me to pick anyone else to play center field for the National League.

This year, the Braves will have four players going to Washington – yeah, that’s our capital – to play for the NL side.

Those players are first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Nick Markakis, second baseman Ozzie Albies and starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz.

Freeman, who is hitting .315, actually led all NL vote-getters and therefore will make his first start at the greet-em corner in his third All-Star appearance.

Markakis, in his 13th season, led all NL outfielders in the voting and thus will start in his first-ever All-Star appearance. He is the league-leader in hits and is currently batting a career-best .323 for the Braves.

Albies made the team as a reserve through player balloting. He has 18 home runs, and at age 21, could become the youngest Braves’ player to play in the All-Star game since Hank Aaron did so as a 21-year-old in 1955.

Foltynewicz is only 6-5 in 17 starts this year, but he owns a 2.37 ERA and has 114 strikeouts in 95 innings pitched.

For the Braves, this will be the first time since 2012 they have had more than two players make the NL roster. It also is the first time since 2003 that they had two players chosen as starters.

The Braves, of course, are in the midst of a surprising season as they have one of the better records in baseball and are tied for second in the NL for the most wins with 50 as they went into this week tied for first with the Philadelphia Phillies in the East.

So obviously, with the All-Star game deciding who gets homefield advantage for the World Series, a victory for the NL squad could actually benefit the Braves should they play their way into the postseason and have a chance at the NL pennant.

I don’t like the All-Star game deciding homefield for the Fall Classic, but again, it is what it is.

For me, maybe the best part of the All-Star game has always been the player introductions. As a kid, that’s when I got to see my favorite players trot onto the field and take their place among all the stars in the game.

This year, I suppose it will be cool to see all those Braves run onto the field when the PA announcer bellows their first and last names.

I won’t know all the players on both teams like I once did because I don’t idolize these guys like I used to many of the players from yesteryear.

I’ll leave that for the little-leaguers of today.

They probably know all the starters by name and team.

I don’t anymore.

But, yes. It is what it is.

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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