(because you need to have played the game to know when Alay Soler is toast).

Despite 6 of his players making the NL All-Star Squad, Mets manager Willie Randolph is less than enamored with the sort of ballot-box stuffing that put Jason Bay on the team.  From the New York Times’ William Rhoden.

“I understand that the fans want to be involved in some ways, but I think that it becomes a popularity contest,” Randolph said.

“That’s not right. I think to be an All-Star, you should be an All-Star ” not because your team draws well at home and you have a lot of home games early.””

Should a player be selected on what he has done in the past, or be rewarded ” like Wright and Reyes ” for having a strong first half?

“I think if you’re an All-Star and have been a perennial All-Star, even if you have somewhat of a slow start before the All-Star break, I still think you should make it if you are the best at that position,” Randolph said.

Which brings us to Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals. Soriano was voted on the N.L. team as a left fielder. Here’s a player who initially resisted playing that position. Today, Soriano, thanks to fan votes, is going.

“I don’t think he’s an All-Star,” Randolph said of Soriano. “Offensively? Yes, but he’s not an All-Star left fielder. I think to be an All-Star, I think you should be somewhat well rounded.

“He might be a second baseman next year when he’s a free agent. That’s why I don’t think the fans should vote, because they don’t really know. They don’t know talent, they don’t know who can really play, they don’t really know who deserves to be there. Coaches and players, even though sometimes you can be biased, have a better feel of who the true All-Stars are.”

As if to prove Willie’s point, Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo, an excellent judge of talent (baseball, if not musical) and his manager, Jerry Narron belatedly campaigned for Reds catcher David Ross.  The same David Ross who has appeared in half of his team’s games this season.

Ken Griffey Jr. and Austin Kearns have each homered for the Reds this afternoon, as they lead the Brewers, 4-3 at Sid Griffin Memorial Stadium.  Hopefully, the day has been incident-free for Bob Uecker.