This is a good column for Bernie. Usually, he isn’t the ripping kind, but he gets a few digs into Cubs fans. In this column, he talks about which player, Albert Pujols or Carlos Lee, should be the national league starting first baseman.

Bernie starts off in good form, but the second paragraph is where he hits the mark:

I realize that excitement is at a premium at Wrigley Field these days, considering the Cubs’ sputtering ways. And the classy Lee is a worthy outlet for a passionate cause. Lee is having an extraordinary 2005 season. The Cubs’ first baseman is arguably the best player in the game at this moment in time. And Lee is certainly the hottest hitter on Planet Baseball, having cranked three hits and two homers Thursday in the Cubs’ collapse and loss in Milwaukee.

Nice. A slam followed by a compliment.

Bernie rattles off some statistics, but then lays out the case for Albert Pujols:

That said, I have a question: since when did Albert Pujols become, say, Leon Durham? Why would any fan who voted for Pujols have to apologize for their endorsement? Pujols is, year in and year out, the game’s best all-around hitter, and he’s having another strong season with a .331 average, 19 homers and 61 RBIs.

Flipping the script, Bernie then shows there are two Cardinals that aren’t deserving of being all stars this year:

If you want to flare your nostrils over the likely presence of Cardinals in the starting NL lineup, save the hot, hot heat for third base and the outfield. Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds aren’t having distinguished seasons by their normal standards, and other players are far more deserving for All-Star honors.

And of course, we have the return of the benign Tony La Russa quote:

“This game belongs to the fans,” said Tony La Russa, who will manage the NL squad. “It’s their game. It’s a way to directly connect the fans to a big event, and they buy the tickets to the game.”

Once again, Bernie doesn’t ask him what he thinks of Scott and Jim being voted onto the team. Bernie lets him off the hook. Remember, Tony La Russa is the manager of the nationals all star team and that the all star game is played for the right to be home team during the world series.

Ah, but this is where Bernie breaks out the Bernie foo:

And here’s a little secret: health permitting, both Pujols and Lee will start for the NL. Lee is closing the gap in the voting. It doesn’t matter. If Pujols wins, Lee will be the starting designated hitter. If Lee wins, Pujols will be the starting DH.

It’s La Russa’s perfect solution.


Score: 8 out of 10