Ty Wigginton's (right, photo by The Baltimore Sun) 2010 season is an inspiring tale of perseverance.

The 32-year-old journeyman hoped to earn a spot in the starting lineup in spring training, but was relegated to the role of pine-riding utilityman and high-five specialist when the Orioles signed Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins. He didn't start the Orioles' first four games.

Then Wigginton got his chance when Brian Roberts went down, and the stocky slugger spent much of April and May bashing baseballs into the bleachers.

On Sunday, Wigginton was selected to his first All-Star Game — despite a frigid slump that has stretched from June into July and dropped his batting average to .251.

Is Wigginton a great story? You bet.

Worthy of a spot in the Midsummer Classic? Not really.

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After an All-Star-caliber first quarter, Wigginton has hit just one home run in his last 36 games. And though his 14 homers and 44 RBIs are tops on the Orioles, they are well short of the league lead.

Still, he will be the Orioles' lone representative at the 2010 All-Star Game — the ninth time in 10 years they have sent just one — on July 13 in Anaheim, Calif. Even Wigginton said he had doubts about his qualifications.

"I was just shocked, actually," he told The Baltimore Sun. "I feel like at this point, there are some guys having better years than me, both on the team and around the league. But obviously, we know somebody has to go from here, and it feels good that it's me."

And that's my biggest beef with this whole process. Somebody has to go from here, even though the last-place Orioles had 25 wins at the midway point and no one on the roster performed like an All-Star in the first half (except for maybe Jason Berken, but middle relievers don't get much love).

It's like the bassist from Nickelback winning a Grammy because he didn't suck as badly as his bandmates.
Every team must be represented, so Wigginton and his feel-good story got the nod by default.

Meanwhile, five players who have better numbers and are contributors on winning teams — Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, Delmon Young, Michael Young and Kevin Youkilis — are battling it out in a fan vote for the final spot on the American League roster.

And while we're talking about the fan vote, I think it's a cool gimmick. But they should be picking the 25th best guy in each league instead of the 34th. These rosters are beyond bloated at this point. It's like the Village People expanding to eight macho, macho men by adding a park ranger, an architect and an optometrist.

Fans tune in to the All-Star Game to see baseball's very best. They want to see players such as A-Rod and Albert Pujols — not obligatory All-Stars like Wigginton.

Despite the screwed-up system that helped sneak Wigginton into his first All-Star Game, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ecstatic for him.

And hey, at least he'll give the Orioles fans, who appreciate his hard work and humility, a thrill at next week's game — even if it's for just one at-bat.

He has played for five teams in his nine-year career, including the Orioles, the Pirates and the Rays (before they dropped the "Devil" and their losing ways). This guy has paid his dues.

Wigginton may not deserve to be there, but how could you not root for him?

Matt Vensel is a content creator at b. Follow him on Twitter: @mattvensel.

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