Ty Wigginton, the Baltimore Oriole representative at Tuesday's Major League All-Star baseball game, tries hard. We like that. He is our guy in Anaheim.
Naysayers might complain that a player who is hitting a mere .252 should not be an All Star. To this, we say: Our guy happens to be in the right place at the right time. Baseball has adopted a "big-tent" approach to All Star membership, and every club gets at least one player sent to the game. Mr. Wigginton is Baltimore's man. Nothing wrong with that.
Moreover, our guy is humble, telling The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec that "there are some guys having better years than me both on the team and around the league." This is refreshing. It is also accurate.
For instance, his teammate, outfielder Nick Markakis, is hitting over 300. But this summer there is a surplus of outstanding American Leaguers in the outfield, while at second base, where Mr. Wigginton often plays, there is a shortage. The law of supply and demand smiles upon our guy.
So does fate. Consider this: When Boston Red Sox All Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia went on the disabled list, Mr. Wigginton was named to the team by the Yankees' Joe Girardi, manager of the American League squad. So Boston's bad luck and the kindness of a New York Yankee combine to give a Baltimore guy a break. How often does that happen?
As most Oriole fans know, our All Star was a bench warmer at the start of the season. He was riding the pine until Brian Roberts, the team's starting second baseman and one of its best players, went down with an injury. Opportunity knocked, and our guy answered in a big way, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 32 runs in 48 games in April and May.
Since that sizzling start, his slugging has cooled considerably. But he remains a gamer, doing whatever his manager asks, whether it is moving over to play first base or being a designated hitter.
Baseball is a game fueled by hope, and tonight's contest presents a chance to deliver a shot of good feeling to Oriole fans. The scenario would unfold like this: Late in extra innings the game is tied, and the American League has a runner in scoring position and needs a pinch hitter.
All the big-name All Stars are out of the game and are busy giving television interviews or Tweeting. Skipper Girardi scans the dugout and there in the corner, almost forgotten, is our guy. Summoned to the plate, he takes a few pitches, then sends a scorching single into left field, driving in what proves to be the winning run.
Our All Star, the humble one, the former bench warmer — the guy who shouldn't be here — is now the hero of the game. Unfortunately, even if he gets that opportunity, the chances of this happening, if you believe statistics, are about one in four. But as we said, the game is all about hope.