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Wakeup Call: The myth of the ‘token Pirate’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column looks at a whole mess of stuff. It even steals this blog’s daily intro line.

>> The Pirates have one of the top 10 rotations in the majors, but neither of two deserving candidates — James McDonald and A.J. Burnett – made the National League All-Star team. McDonald, in particular, stood out for me. His 2.44 ERA ranks ninth in the majors, and his 0.98 WHIP is tied for fifth. He’s given up more than three runs just once all season (that was four), making for the best first half in that category in the franchise’s 126-year history.

Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t to take away from Joel Hanrahan. He’s 20 for 22 in saves, 2.30 ERA and all that. He’s deserving but … wow, two Cubs got in, and two Pirates.

>> Can we please bury once and for all the myth of the “token” Pirates All-Stars?

You hear that term all the time, usually in the sense of hey, isn’t it swell that the Pirates are past that stage where they would send one player only because rules mandate it.

In past 20 years, there have been four such picks: Evan Meek, Ed Sprague, Mike Williams and Carlos Garcia. Even then, I’d say Meek shouldn’t have been picked over a legitimately deserving Andrew McCutchen in 2010. And Brian Giles would have been a much better choice than Sprague in 1999.

Otherwise, that’s it. Not exactly some annual occurrence.

>> This was my appearance on KDKA-TV’s ‘Showdown’ late last night.

>> And I’ll make my weekly visit with the online-only TribLIVE Radio today at noon.

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