Unless you've been marooned on an island for the last three months, you've heard about White Sox rookie Jose Abreu. And unless you've just returned from a walkabout in the Australian Outback, you know that Abreu has played the first half like an all star.
But if any of those apply, you returned home just in time to find out that Abreu has been rewarded with an All Star Game appearance in his first season in the big leagues. If you're one of these people, let me just tell you that his selection is absolutely deserving.
There've been three Rookie of the Month awards this year and Abreu has two of them, making him the first Sox rookie to ever win two in the same season and, barring anything unforeseen, he will record more home runs than any Sox rookie ever. He needs just 9 of them and he's got 73 games to get there.
I'm sure I've written this before, but we are incredibly fortunate to be watching the beginning of the career of the most exciting offensive White Sox player since Frank Thomas, and the first Sox hitter since Big Hurt that is making the rest of the country take notice.
Paul Konerko is finishing up a terrific career as one of the best White Sox hitters of all time, but I don't believe he's ever commanded the widespread attention that Abreu has. That might just be the simple reality that people tend to be fascinated by overnight success stories like Abreu. He went 6-for-12 in his opening series as a major leaguer with 2 doubles, a triple, and 5 runs batted in, and he hasn't stopped since.
It took Abreu until his eighth game to finally go deep, he spent two weeks on the disabled list, and still nobody in baseball has more home runs.
He's special. Now he's an all star and a superb White Sox representative.
And while Abreu might be the favorite to win this year's Rookie of the Year, the guy that came in second in the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year voting will make his first all-star appearance as well. Alexei Ramirez will be the first Sox shortstop since Ozzie Guillen in 1991 to go, and though his offensive production hasn't been as abundant since it was a month ago, I think he's earned it.
But what's truly baffling is the omission of Chris Sale from the pitching staff. There are eight starters going and Sale isn't one of them, unless he wins the Final Vote. So, you're telling me there are eight starting pitchers in the league batter than him? You could make the argument that maybe -- maybe -- there are three.
But, eight? Please.
As of the time I'm writing this, I've yet to hear any explanation as to why he wasn't included and I can't imagine I'm going to hear one that makes much sense. So the best we can do is encourage people to vote, and if the past is any kind of indicator, Sox fans are extraordinary at getting their guys voted in at the final hour.
Maybe I'm burying the lead here by mentioning this snubbing last, but I figure there will be enough people to carry the torch of indignation without me piling on.
• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter@ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com.