Since it’s the start of the All-Star break, who’s your All-Star so far this season?
First of all, major cap tip to ultimate All-Star, The Captain, Derek Jeter, a man who has been giving me goosebumps for 17 years and counting. Dude is a paragon of class, someone who always goes hard and who seems to have a natural knack for the dramatic.
Jeter is one of those duh, no kidding he’s an All-Star sorta guys, the Pete Rose type, the kind of player you always expect to be an All-Star ‘cuz that’ s how he carries himself, on and off the field. But there’s another type of All-Star, the kind who generally isn’t included in the actual All-Star Game… they are the grinders, the 110% effort guys, the ones who find clean uniforms shameful.
When I was playing legion and high school ball, I was never the best on the team. I was short. I was skinny. I pretty much had zero tools… but I always went hard. Bruises, cuts, scrapes… I was tattooed with them. One day, after a particularly poor team performance, Coach said we needed to give more effort, to go harder. He said, “Lung has more energy in his pinky finger than the rest of you do as a team.”
I never forgot that. And even though I didn’t have the talent to be a starter, or to be successful at baseball at all, I did learn to walk pretty tall after that because everyone knew I gave it everything I had on every play.
Nyjer Morgan does that today.
Shocking, yes, I know, that I would praise the talents of a misfit who plays for a rival team. But have you ever watched Nyjer Morgan play baseball? That dude is fired up! And he plays helluh-hard! There is no let-up in his game and above all the homeruns, the no-hitters, the miraculous defensive plays in the field, I would rather watch nine Nyjer Morgans play against nine Nyjer Morgans than any of the aforementioned spectacles.
He may be odd, he may be hot headed and he may be just a few clicks shy of stupid, but Nyjer Morgan loves baseball like I love baseball, and he plays it in such a way that I can’t ever take my eyes off him.
He’s my undisputed off-the-radar All-Star.
Hate me, it’s cool… just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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