By James Nahikian
What most fans of the game of baseball knew for quite a while now is finally official. Detroit Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander will start for the American League in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game this Tuesday at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. Verlander, who has a record of 9-5 and an ERA of 2.58 will duel against Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants. Cain has a record of 9-3 and an ERA of 2.62 on the season. He also pitched a perfect game earlier in the year against the Houston Astros on June 13.
The decision made by Texas Rangers manager, Ron Washington, should have been no surprise to Verlander and the rest of the baseball world. Some of the other major pitchers in the league are either out due to an injury or have pitched more recently with their respected clubs.
Verlander is the freshest of the bunch, and to be honest, the best of the bunch. He has had many games this year where he has deserved better. His record, which is still impressive, should be better than what it is. In my opinion, Verlander is and has been the most dominant pitcher in the game over the past two seasons. His stuff is electric and his mentality is none like I’ve ever seen before. He is probably the most competitive person that I have ever met, and he uses that competitiveness to his advantage on the field.
The fact is, Verlander should have started the All-Star Game last season (When he won the American League Cy Young and MVP), but he was not even able to pitch because he started for the Tigers the Sunday before the game. Justin is still very humble about that incident to this day. When asked last week if he was owed this start because he should have gotten it last year, Verlander simply responded with, “You aren’t owed anything in this game.”
However, Verlander was still very open in expressing how cool the opportunity would be, “It would be nice, it would be fantastic,” Verlander said, “I would like to have it on the resume.”
So how does Verlander continuously impress everyone, even when everyone in the game expects greatness every single start? Well, apparently its nothing too complex, Verlander told me that he just goes out there and tries to “Just be who I am.”
Keeping it simple might just be what allows Justin Verlander to be Justin Verlander. Although, not too many people have the right arm that Justin has. Either way, Verlander will take the ball Tuesday night and start his first ever All-Star Game. Just another accomplish that Justin will jot down on his already impressive resume.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future