Colon to represent A’s at All-Star Game
KANSAS CITY — Mixed emotions engulfed the A’s clubhouse on Saturday afternoon.
There was plenty joy for a 40-year-old pitcher who made the All-Star team — but also confusion, disappointment and even anger knowing he won’t be joined by any teammates on the American League squad.
For the seventh time in the last eight seasons, the A’s learned Saturday that they’ll be represented by only one player at this year’s Midsummer Classic: Bartolo Colon.
It’s a deserving nod, no doubt, given the remarkable first half Oakland’s 16-year veteran has inscribed on his lengthy resume, which includes 11 wins next to just three losses and a 2.78 ERA.
“I feel extremely happy about it,” Colon said through A’s coach and interpreter Ariel Prieto. “I believe it’s all about the work that I’ve been doing, since even before the season started. I thank the Oakland A’s for giving me the opportunity to be part of them.”
It’s the first All-Star nod for Colon since 2005, the same year he took home the AL Cy Young Award, and second of his career, having also been named an All-Star in 1998. That was 15 years ago.
“I’m obviously very happy about Bartolo,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Very deserving, a guy that’s been around some time, and to make an All-Star Game at the age of 40 and have the type of half he did is pretty incredible.”
But for as happy as he is for Colon, Melvin is stunned that the All-Star Game, to be managed by Detroit’s Jim Leyland, will take place without any of his other players, notably Grant Balfour and Josh Donaldson.
“No question. Hopefully something happens and another gets in, but I am very surprised,” said Melvin, who spoke to Leyland on numerous occasions leading up to Saturday’s announcement.
“He called me and asked me some questions, and he did that with everybody,” he continued. “He didn’t give me any indication. This certainly isn’t on Jim Leyland. He only gets to pick a certain number of guys, and there are always going to be deserving players that don’t get to go. As far as speaking about our players on our team, I felt like we were deserving of having more than one guy there.”
“If anything,” said Donaldson, “I’m more disappointed that we only had one. I feel like we’re probably one of the best teams in all of baseball, and we deserve more than one guy. And I’m not talking about for me. You’ve got Balfour, Jed [Lowrie] is one of the top-hitting shortstops in the game right now. I just feel like there are more guys than just one in here that are All-Stars, and that’s why we’ve been so good.”
At 51-37, the defending AL West champion A’s are one of baseball’s best teams and have been since the middle of last year. Yet they’ve still yet to garner the type of attention they feel they merit.
“I guess from what you hear over the years, it’s not really surprising,” said Balfour. “It’s a little disappointing to see as a team. I think we’ve shown we’re a good team with a lot of great players. Just the way it goes I guess.
“I’m definitely disappointed, to be truthful. But what are you going to do about it?”
Balfour has been perfect for the A’s as a closer, having given them 22 saves in as many opportunities. He has 40 in a row dating back to last year.
“He’s been as close to shutdown as anyone in all of baseball,” Donaldson said. “I don’t know that there’s any other closer out there who’s perfect. He’s been perfect for us all year. I don’t know that there are any numbers that are better than perfect. I don’t understand why he’s not on the team.”
Donaldson’s numbers are equally impressive, even next to his peers in a stacked third-base field that includes Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado, Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria. Oakland’s infielder, a converted catcher, exited Saturday with a .317 clip and a .918 OPS, along with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs.
Had he been selected, he would have been the first A’s position player to be invited to the All-Star Game since Ramon Hernandez in 2003.
“I’m not surprised,” Donaldson said, though with a hint of disappointment in his voice. “I felt honored that our fan base got behind me and tried to do what they could. That was special. For me, I understand the game of baseball and it’s more than just baseball sometimes, especially for stuff like this. Everyone who made the team I feel like is pretty deserving. I’m more happy that Colon made it vs. me, myself, not making it. It’s an incredible thing to do at 40 years old. I think it’s pretty amazing.”
Balfour was more candid in relaying his frustrations about the news.
“I guess I wasn’t good enough to make it,” he said wryly. “I don’t know what to tell you. You’re interviewing me because you thought I should’ve made it, and I don’t know. I feel like I’ve had some pretty good years over the years, and I felt like this was a year it maybe could’ve happened. But it didn’t happen and there’s still a season to be played, so I’m not going to sit here and cry about it.
“You play for a long time, think you put up some good numbers over the years, but if it was meant to be it was meant to be, so you let it go. It’s not always good enough to be perfect. You can’t be perfect for everyone. It’s not my choice. If I had the choice I’d go.”