All-Stars list dwindles both on the field and for the candidates
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Big doings at Turner Field with Thursday's All-Star Game? Well, not exactly.
All-Star pitchers Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox and Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves? Missing and hurt. New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza? out, concussion. Shortstop Alex Rodriguez? Out, concussion. Orioles' third baseman Cal Ripken? Out, bad back.
Of course, you do get the New York Yankee's Derek Jeter at Shortstop and the Cleveland Indians' Travis Fryman at third base.
"Cal Ripken's played 21 years and he deserves to be there and they want to see him, doesn't matter if he's hitting a buck-ten," Fryman said.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr.? Out, knee. He hit in the home run derby, but doesn't want to risk running.
"The guys who are replacing everybody, they're still All-Stars. I mean, you look at their numbers and they've done just as well as everybody else," Griffey explained.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds? Out, thumb.
"As a fan, sure, you might be a little bit disappointed. I owe my teammates first, but, I will give you the common courtesy and respect of showing up," said Bonds.
"I always worry about the integrity of the game, when guys miss, but, in these cases, they're all legitimate injuries and they can't help it," said Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox.
Cynics say Cox, manager of the National League All-Star team, is also worried about having nine guys to play the game. He was heard lamenting one catcher's escape to a vacation in Puerto Rico. All these no-shows, it's a little like ... it's a little like what's happening to the presidential candidates these days.
"I asked not to be considered for vice president," said Arizona Sen. John McCain, Bush's one time presidential rival.
Retired Army General Colin Powell
There's one All-Star out of George W. Bush's lineup. Colin Powell won't play either. Nor former senator John Danforth. Nor Florida's Connie Mack, he's retiring from the sport. Nor Dick Cheney; he's the chief VP scout, not expected to be an active player himself, and Jack Kemp, of course, suffered a career-ending injury in Campaign '96. But Bush isn't the only one with a problem.
"I've said many times to reporters that I have an obligation to serve a four-year term, and I'm committed to do so," California Gov. Gray Davis said recently, as he removed himself from Vice President Gore's running mate list.
Okay, no California governor on the Al Gore All-Stars. No Bill Bradley, they retired his number years ago. No Bill Richardson; his stock fell when another team stole some signs. No Bill Daley -- again, coaches aren't usually players too. It's a problem.
"I always worry about the integrity of the game," says Cox.
Good point. What do you do with a game, politics or baseball, where so many stars won't shine?