The Houston Astros were the only major league team without representation at this year's All-Star Game in Colorado, as their four selectees -- infielders Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, outfielder Michael Brantley, and right-hander Ryan Pressly -- opted not to attend the event for various reasons.
Excused absences? Sure. Correa is currently on the COVID-19 injured list, Altuve and Brantley are resting minor injuries, and Pressly is taking paternity leave to be with his pregnant wife. But the optics couldn't look worse for the sign-stealing Astros, and former big league pitcher Rob Dibble believes some healthy players who skipped the Midsummer Classic should be penalized.
"The All-Star Game is something that's not just for you, it's for the younger generation. You want to show these kids how they should act, and I don't feel that some of these players appreciate that," Dibble told The Zach Gelb Show on Tuesday. "First of all, the Astros, I've never liked the Astros. We used to battle with them all the time when I was a player. And then after what they did in 2017, to not show up to the All-Star Game, to me, it's kind of lame. They're just being cowards. You should've showed up, faced the music...
"For me, that's a commissioner's issue. That's not really just the players bowing out. And my thoughts on that too, moving forward, they shouldn't be on the ballot next year. You don't want to play in the game? Don't put them on the ballot. I think it's a reflection of today's generation where, you don't appreciate the fans voting you on the team... For you to not show up is disrespectful -- not just to the game, but to the next generation of players."
During the 2011 offseason, MLB and the Players Association agreed in a new collective-bargaining agreement that players would be "required" to attend All-Star Game festivities unless injured or "otherwise excused by the Office of the Commissioner." MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently told reporters that "it's important for our fans to see our very, very best players" in the game, and that the league and union will soon review players who might not have honored the current provision.
The American League defeated the National League, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Coors Field. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the AL's eight-game win streak is now tied for the second-longest in All-Star Game history.
Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani became the first player in the modern era to start at pitcher, bat in the leadoff spot, and earn the win all in the same game. Toronto Blue Jays star slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also became the youngest player ever to win All-Star Game MVP (age 22).
The entire MLB conversation between Dibble and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.