Here's another vote for Yasiel Puig to make All-Star Game

The Dodgers rookie phenom is the biggest thing going in baseball. His place should be front and center.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 11, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 10, 2013
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Puig is the summer blockbuster.

And yet, there are some who don't want to see him in the All-Star Game.

Last week, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was asked about Puig's inclusion in the All-Star Game during an interview on the MLB Radio Network.

“To me, it's an absolute joke,” he said. “It's really kind of stupid if you ask me.”

Papelbon said he hadn't been in the league long enough; Puig started the season in the minors before being called up to the majors on June 2.

“Just comparing him to this and that and saying he's going to make the All-Star team, that's a joke to me,” Papelbon said. “To me, it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight-, nine-, 10-plus years. It kind of does them an injustice because they've worked so hard to stay there.”

Fox analyst Tim McCarver expressed similar sentiments during a recent broadcast. He contended that 80 percent of players wouldn't support Puig's inclusion in the game because it would take a spot from someone who played the entire season.

That may be.

But here's the deal — the All-Star Game isn't for the players, it's for the fans.

And the fans can't get enough of Puig.

During his first week in the bigs, the Dodgers sold more Puig-related merchandise than they'd ever sold of any player during a four-day period. More than Manny Ramirez. More than Hideo Nomo. More than Fernando Valenzuela.

Puig is hypnotic. He has an amazing but mysterious back story, defecting from Cuba but revealing nothing of the journey that brought him to the United States. It feels like this baseball deity appeared out of nowhere this season, and in a way, he did.

But just because he's just burst on the scene shouldn't keep him out of the All-Star Game. He's packed as many big-time, game-changing plays into his thirty-something games as anyone who's played the entire first half of the season.

Anyone who thinks he doesn't belong in the Midsummer Classic is just being foolish.

“They don't really understand this is the entertainment business,” former Dodger star Steve Garvey recently told The Associated Press. “This is our showcase.”

The All-Star Game is baseball's time to shine — but you've got to have the best and the brightest to do that.

No one has been better or brighter than Yasiel Puig.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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