Plenty of players (ahem Derek Jeter) have avoided the Midsummer Classic like the plague.
But there is one of the dozen-plus players not playing in the game who would love to play in the All-Star Game if only he was allowed to.
Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels wishes he would get a chance to help and clinch home field advantage in the World Series for the National League -- and possibly the Major League-best Phillies.
"When you come here, you want to play,'' Hamels said. "I have to throw a bullpen anyway. It's only one inning. It's not like I'm going out and throwing 60 pitches.
"This is one of one of those things where people that don't play the game make the rules. I don't think they understand what's going on with how we work out and how we train. Most of us are pretty smart. We're not going to injure ourselves in the All-Star Game and prevent ourselves from pitching in the regular season.''
Hamels isn’t allowed to pitch because of a rule that says any pitcher who tosses on Sunday can’t pitch in Tuesday’s game. The rule allows plenty of pitchers who might have no interest in the Midsummer Classic to avoid throwing but it also protects guys from letting competitive juices take over for common sense.
Hamels seems to be neither of those.
In any case at least Phillies fans can revel that one of our own -- the great Roy Halladay, the ace of aces -- will be pitching in Phoenix Tuesday night. Doc’s starting and should hurl the first two innings for the NL facing AL sluggers like Joe Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson.
At some point in the middle innings Cliff Lee is also expected to take his turn on the mound.
“It’s a meaningful game so you have to take it serious and try and win it for our league,” Lee said in the Phillies locker room Sunday.
Lee will pitch or will he?
Hamels... joked that he might switch jerseys with Phillies teammate and fellow lefty Cliff Lee if it will allow him to get in the game.
So when you see No. 33 on the hill Tuesday night sometime in the middle innings, check out the guy under the cap. Maybe Lee will join the list of players taking the night off and Hamels instead will face the AL.
And considering how well both Hamels (.465 OPS) and Lee (.574 OPS) have been at the plate this season maybe one of them would even make a pinch-hitting cameo.
“Yeah sure,” joked home run-hitting Lee.
“No shot,” Hamels said with a smile.