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posted: 7/5/2012 10:05 PM

The significance of the All-Star Game and A.J.

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  • Kevin Youkilis, front right, celebrates with A.J. Pierzynski, left, after the White Sox defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1 Thursday. Mike North contends Pierzynski may be the most important player on the Sox in the second half of the season.

      Kevin Youkilis, front right, celebrates with A.J. Pierzynski, left, after the White Sox defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1 Thursday. Mike North contends Pierzynski may be the most important player on the Sox in the second half of the season.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

Some in the media tend to copy one another when it comes to certain things or situations.

For example, the current school of thought is the All-Star Game is just an exhibition contest. However, I hear Ron Washington, the manager of the Texas Rangers, say the American League needs to win the game because he believes having home-field advantage is huge.

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Obviously that's true, but that doesn't sound like an exhibition game to me.

I was on the radio on the Fourth of July talking about the All-Star Game, all-star snubs and all-star selections, and there was plenty of interest. The people who say it's an exhibition are the same people who will moan if they can't get credentials for the game.

Ask around and see how many other exhibition games outside of a few NFL games people really want to see. The All-Star Game may not be must-see viewing in some worlds, but it deserves higher status than an exhibition game.

One of my favorite memories was waiting in line with my Uncle Joe to get into the All-Star Game at Wrigley Field in 1962. I was 9 years old and we sat in the left-field bleachers. The place was jammed and I remember it like it was yesterday. Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Luis Aparicio and Ernie Banks -- you name it, they were there.

How may exhibition games do you remember?

I thought so. From players like Ted Williams to Carl Hubbel and Pete Rose to Paul Konkero -- do you think these players considered it exhibition baseball when they played in the All-Star Game? I doubt it.

Some of the biggest moments in baseball have happened during this mid-summer game. The NFL, NBA, and NHL wish they had a game to showcase like the MLB. No my friends, it isn't an exhibition game -- it's an event, and an event that counts for something bigger.

Irreplaceable AJ?

Speaking of the game, the fact that A. J. Pierzynski isn't in the game is a joke.

For now, he can recharge his batteries to get ready for the second half of the season.

Maybe I'm wrong, but he might be the most important player on the team right now.

Nothing against Paul Konerko because there is a strong argument for him being that guy -- a .336 hitter playing sound baseball and captain of the team.

If needed, Adam Dunn or maybe Dayan Viciedo could fill in at first for a while. Tyler Flowers, on the other hand, is a significant step down from A.J. right now.

So rest up my friend, because if the White Sox lose a catcher the caliber of A.J., who hits and handles the pitching staff, they will have a tough time filling his shoes.

We're back!

Jiggetts and North fans can catch the Monsters doing some radio from 7-10 p.m. Friday night on FM News 101.1- FM. See ya!

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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