These All-Stars shine the brightest

Tonight, the official All-Star teams will be announced.

Officially, call this a preview. Unofficially, here's what the All-Star teams should look like if the Chicago White Sox's Ozzie Guillen, Houston Astros' Phil Garner and the players who voted viewed this without emotion.


They won't, of course. Not when managers have the chance to reward some of their own guys. That's their right for winning their pennants. But here's a look at who deserves to make it - and it's done by the rules.

Thirty-two players from each side are chosen. All clubs have one representative. And the starter is who was leading the voting by midweek.


Connolly's '06 All-Stars

American League 1B: David Ortiz, Boston. Reserves: Travis Hafner Cleveland; Jim Thome, Chicago. Just missed: Chicago's Paul Konerko. Yes, my guys are all DHs and not true first basemen, but, boy, can they all hit. Thome vs. Konerko was a tossup, but I can't take both.

2B: Robinson Cano, New York. Reserve: Mark Grudzielanek, Kansas City. Just missed: Boston's Mark Loretta, Texas' Mark DeRosa, Orioles' Brian Roberts and Seattle's Jose Lopez. Skinny: You need a Royal. It's the law. And the scrappy Grudzielanek is not that offensive. One miss, probably Loretta, can be added because Cano is on the DL.

SS: Derek Jeter, New York. Reserves: Miguel Tejada, Orioles; Michael Young, Texas. Just missed: Carlos Guillen, Detroit. Skinny: Both reserves are lone reps from their teams. And they are both real good.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, New York. Reserve: Joe Crede, Chicago. Just missed: Mike Lowell, Boston. Aside from the booing, A-Rod still deserves this spot. Lowell will make up for the snub with the Comeback Player Award.

C: Jason Varitek, Boston. Reserve: Joe Mauer, Minnesota. Just missed: A bunch of worthy guys, including the Orioles' Ramon Hernandez. Skinny: This is where fan voting fails. Even if Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez edges Varitek in the fan count, neither is most deserving at this position. Mauer is.

OF: Manny Ramirez, Boston; Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles; Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle. Reserves: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay; Alex Rios, Toronto; Vernon Wells, Toronto. Just missed: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit; Trot Nixon, Boston; Gary Matthews, Texas. Amazing that Guerrero is the least deserving here. Ordonez gets added when Rios is scratched.

SP: Johan Santana, Minnesota. Reserves: Detroit's Justin Verlander, Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers; Chicago's Mark Buehrle and Jose Contreras; New York's Mike Mussina, Toronto's Roy Halladay; Boston's Curt Schilling; and Oakland's Barry Zito. Just missed: Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir. Skinny: Zito makes it as lone Athletic. All three Tigers deserve it. Santana should be the starter over Contreras.


RP: Bobby Jenks, Chicago; Jonathan Papelbon, Boston; B.J. Ryan, Toronto; Mariano Rivera, New York. Just missed: Chris Ray, Orioles; Joe Nathan, Minnesota. Skinny: Four relievers having great seasons.

National League 1B: Albert Pujols, St. Louis. Reserves: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia; Lance Berkman, Houston; Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles. Just missed: Nick Johnson, Washington. Skinny: Four first basemen are a bit much, but who do you leave off here?

2B: Chase Utley, Philadelphia. Reserve: Dan Uggla, Florida. Just missed: Jose Castillo, Pittsburgh; Jamey Carroll, Colorado. Skinny: Uggla, a Rule 5 pick, probably should be the starter.

SS: Jose Reyes, New York. Reserve: Omar Vizquel, San Francisco. Just missed: Edgar Renteria, Atlanta; David Eckstein, St. Louis. Skinny: Renteria has better offensive numbers than Vizquel, but no one plays short like Omar.

3B: David Wright, New York. Reserves: Miguel Cabrera, Florida; Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh. Just missed: Scott Rolen, St. Louis. Skinny: Sanchez is a great story for the host Pirates, so I had to sneak him on. But skipping Rolen is admittedly awful.

C: Paul Lo Duca, New York. Reserve: Brian McCann, Atlanta. Just missed: Johnny Estrada, Arizona; Russ Martin, Los Angeles. Skinny: Not a great crop.


OF: Jason Bay, Pittsburgh; Carlos Beltran, New York; Alfonso Soriano, Washington. Reserves: Carlos Lee, Milwaukee; Matt Holliday, Colorado; Andruw Jones, Atlanta. Just missed: Adam Dunn, Cincinnati. Skinny: Boy, did the voters get this right. Dunn's OBP and power are great, but that average is terrible.

SP: Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati. Reserves: Jason Schmidt, San Francisco; Brandon Webb, Arizona; Chris Carpenter, St. Louis; Carlos Zambrano, Chicago; Chris Young, San Diego; Tom Glavine, New York; Brad Penny, Los Angeles; Chris Capuano, Milwaukee; Roy Oswalt, Houston; Pedro Martinez, New York. Just missed: Aaron Harang, Cincinnati; Aaron Cook, Colorado. Skinny: Arroyo wasn't even supposed to be in the NL. Now he is most worthy pitcher to start it.

RP: Tom Gordon, Philadelphia; Trevor Hoffman, San Diego. Just missed: Jason Isringhausen, St. Louis; Derrick Turnbow, Milwaukee. Skinny: Both misses have lots of saves but haven't been overwhelming, like most NL closers.