NEW YORK -- A.J. Pierzynski had a pretty good grasp on the All-Star team long before rosters were announced on Sunday afternoon.
The White Sox catcher was snubbed from making his third All-Star appearance as three other catchers have been named to the American League roster. Even though hes on pace to establish career highs in home runs and RBIs, Pierzynski probably isnt surprised his name wasnt called.
On Saturday, Pierzynski said he thought he deserved to be selected, but didnt expect to make the team because the All-Star process is a popularity contest.
Texas Mike Napoli won the fan vote and is the American League starting catcher for the July 10 game. Baltimores Matt Wieters and Minnesotas Joe Mauer were named as reserves for the AL roster by manager Ron Washington.
Pierzynski entered Sunday hitting .285 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs this season through the teams first 78 games. He hit 18 homers in 2005 and drove in 77 runs in 2004.
White Sox pitcher Chris Sale will make the trip to Kansas City next week as will teammates Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. Pitcher Jake Peavy is also part of the Final Vote contest and is eligible to win the 34th spot on the AL roster.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.