The Way I See It, the National League players most deserving of a chance to play in the all-star game probably won't. Take for example first base. I voted for Albert Pujols and he deserves the starting position, but former Boston Red Sox shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, now the Dodgers first sacker, is having a great year as well with a .362 average, 20 doubles, 10 home runs and 47 RBI. He should earn a spot on the bench.

I love Chase Utley, but a second baseman who will probably watch the game from somewhere other than PNC Stadium, is Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins. You can't ignore his .313 average, 13 home runs, 49 runs scored and 43 RBI. He should be Utley's backup.

I really messed up when I selected the slumping Morgan Ensberg at third base. There are at least three third basemen, including my favorite player, Scott Rolen, that should be a part of the classic. I'm particularly impressed with the Marlins, Miquel Cabrara. It's no wonder the Marlins sent Mike Lowell packing, dumping a sizeable salary in the bargain. Cabrara is hitting at a .347 clip with 12 dingers, 25 doubles, 52 RBI and seven stolen bases. The kid that has a chance to be the best of them all handles the "hot corner" for the Mets. David Wright is the real deal. He's batting .332 with 64 RBI and 18 long balls. In addition he's an outstanding defensive third baseman. If I was a kid with an interest in collecting baseball cards, I'd grab all the Wright (no pun intended) cards I could muster.

I didn't make a particular good decision at shortstop, although Jack Wilson has a name that resonates baseball. He too has fallen off the radar screen. Two middle infielders I'd reconsider at short are Milwaukee's Bill Hall and the Mets' Jose Reyes. Hall possesses great power going "yard" on 15 occasions. He's only hitting for a .271 average, but has 20 doubles to go along with his long balls and has driven in 45 runs.

Reyes has a .297 average, eight homers, 19 doubles, 13 triples, and has scored 67 runs. He should have been my initial pick.

I like Austin Kearns, but another "opps." Carlos Beltran has apparently adjusted to the big city life and is having the year Mets' fans were hoping for last season. He should have been one of my outfield selections with his .291 average, 18 doubles, 21 home runs, 12 stolen bases and 60 runs batted in. He's also walked 46 times. Another outfielder, who will be watching the game from other than PNC but should be on the NL bench, is Colorado's Brad Hawpe. Unless you're a true baseball fan you've probably never heard his name, but he's having an outstanding year with a .308 average, 14 home runs, 44 RBI, 32 runs scored and 13 doubles.

I went with Brian McCann at catcher, but Paul Lo Duca is the man who should get the nod. The Mets' back stopper is hitting for a .282 average with 18 doubles, three stolen bases, 22 RBI. In addition he has struck out on only 15 occasions in 241 times at bat.

A reminder to all - the MLB all-star game is scheduled for Tuesday night, July 11, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

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