By Illya Harrell on July 10, 2014
The look of the 2014 MLB All-Star game will be as different at Target Field compared to 1985's Metrodome -- the last time Minnesota hosted the Midsummer Classic. There are 25 first-timers on the combined rosters, and this is Derek Jeter's swansong All-Star Game. No one ever dreams to be a goat in baseball's highest viewed game before the playoffs, and these are the top five players with the most to prove.
David Price is slated to start on Saturday for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team will probably yank him earlier than usual to guarantee him an inning in the All-Star game. If Price is to be dealt before the trade deadline — as widely speculated — Rays' upper management would love to see him showcase his value by striking out Troy Tulowitzki, Paul Goldschmidt and Yasiel Puig on a grand stage.
Cincinnati Reds third baseman, and first time All-Star, Todd Frazier will probably take over for starter Aramis Ramirez after the fourth or fifth inning, assuring him at least two at bats. If he pulls something spectacular it will solidify his role as the new team leader in Cincinnati.
Like Frazier, Michael Brantley will be seeking his own coming out party. The Cleveland Indians' outfielder, also playing in his first All-Star Game, is relatively unknown amongst casual baseball fans. And those casual fans are the exact folks who watch the All-Star Game. If Brantley wants to become a household name, he'll need to do something special to prove it.
Oakland A's fans stuffed the ballot box, and Josh Donaldson won the third base starting job over a more deserving Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers. He's no doubt heard the criticism and will be looking to prove those pundits as foolish desk-jockeys.
If you are a fan of the game, you have to love Derek Jeter winning the fan vote in his final season. The 40-year-old is nowhere remotely close to his former self. Pre-2003, before the All-Star Game determined World Series home-field advantage, an opposing pitcher would likely have tossed him a cookie and let Jeter smack it out of the yard. Those days are gone. Jeter needs to pull some magic out of the old tank to prove he belongs.
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