On Matt Cain Starting the All-Star Game

Not to get too meta here, but sometimes I feel like I get trapped in a loop when I write about the same team every day. I want to feign indifference about things like the All-Star Game, yet I also want to express my inner fanboy at how much All-Star selections mean to me. Can't do both! Yet I feel like I wander in and out of both worlds whenever it's convenient for me.

Which brings up the idea of Matt Cain starting the All-Star Game. The initial reaction is to say "Pfffft" while dismissively waving my hand in the direction of Kansas City, turning up my jacket collar, and playing around with a butterfly knife, careful not to tear the Nuclear Assault and Overkill patches on said jacket. Because I'm too cool for that, and I don't care what you and your square friends think about the honor of starting an All-Star Game. We don't need baubles and shiny trinkets to know that Matt Cain is the monkey's eyebrows. I'm talking the caterpillar's kimono, friend. The eel's ankle. That's Matt Cain. We already know this.

At the same time, Matt Cain is a well-established sentimental favorite around here -- a pioneer of not-being-a-disappointment that we can take for granted if we don't constantly remember what it was like before Matt Cain. Having him start the All-Star Game would be amazing. It'd be one part validation, two parts pure joy, and one part mooning the sad, mournful Cain-less teams.

Two problems with this:

The first is R.A. Dickey. He has the edge in ERA, he has the edge in wins, and he has the edge in story. C'mon. It's a great story. Certainly one of the best in baseball, and I'm not sure there has to be that "one of" qualifier in there. He doesn't have a ligament where pitchers should have a ligament! He throws a knuckleball! He wears Darth Vader costumes in the clubhouse! He's the best. And his ERA is close to a half-point lower than Cain's right now. I know there are better statistics, but you know the first one Tony La Russa is going to look at.

The second is that I'm giddy to watch Buster Posey catch a knuckleballer. No real reason, really. It's just something bizarre and unusual enough to catch my attention. I don't think there's any risk of Posey being embarrassed -- even if he were to allow six passed balls, I'm sure the storyline would be, "Sweet Jehu, knuckleballers are weird creatures," instead of anything that would denigrate Posey's talent. I love the knuckleball, and I'm excited at the thought of a fundamentally sound catcher trying to wrangle one for the first time.

Oh, one more problem. I'm pretty sure a Giants fan can't really argue about getting jobbed with anything All-Star related for a while.

Cain and Dickey both start today, and there's that hyper-partisan part of me that cares about the honor of starting the All-Star game. The hyper-partisan part of me wants Dickey to give up eight earned runs in two innings while Cain throws another complete-game shutout. That'd make La Russa's decision a little harder, at least.

The part of me that's on the Internet and too cool for school thinks that it's silly to worry about who starts the All-Star Game. The Giants already have two pitchers who have done it on the roster*. Tim Lincecum did it in a Giants uniform. Jason Schmidt wasn't that long ago. Who cares? Pfffffft. /flips up collar and puts shades on

The part of me that wins this internal battle, though, is the one who loves Cain and the San Francisco Giants, but who can't root against R.A. Dickey. Wouldn't even know where to start. I have a lot of non-Giants vying for the title of favorite non-Giant, but Dickey is rocketing to the top of the charts. Andrew McCutchen isn't making it easy to mount a bloodless coup, but Dickey's a contender.

Besides, if you're going to sink so low as to root for individual misfortune, how about a Pablo Sandoval misplay that leads to a huge first inning for the American League? You know, for the lulz? I'm a Giants fan. I'm a Panda fan. But, oh man oh man oh man, that would be really, really funny. That's why they invented the Internet, folks.

* Nope, not him. The other guy. Seriously, you probably aren't going to get this one.

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