Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 7/2/12

The Texas Rangers with seven of their players on the AL All-Star team are showing baseball fans around the globe, just why they are one of the games best team's in 2012. Slugger Josh Hamilton drew a record total of more than 11 million votes, and was among seven Rangers chosen yesterday as All-Stars. Hamilton will be starting the outfield for the American League along with Adrian Beltre at third base, Mike Napoli catcher, Second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus, starter Matt Harrison and reliever Joe Nathan, Texas teammates who also were named to the AL roster. This will be Josh Hamilton's fifth-straight appearance in the All-Star game and he's been voted a starter by the fans all five years. Yesterday Hamilton said, "It never gets old. It's just as exciting now as it was the first time." Texas will have a team-record three starters for baseball's showcase game July 10th at Kansas City.

Ranger manager Ron Washington didn't apologize for having seven of his players on this years team. Telling reporters, "I don't think the Texas Rangers have to apologize because we've got good players. I picked them very deserving of being All-Stars, bottom line."

As of this morning the Texas Rangers lead their American League West Division with a record of 50-30 (.625) The Angels are in second place, trailing by five and a half games, with Oakland and Seattle a distant 12 and 16 plus games behind. As of this past weekend the Rangers hold the best win record in Major League baseball. Texas has been in the World Series the last two-years in a row and may be looking ahead to a third World Series. Josh Hamilton has been their shining star. Yesterday he was quick to tell reporters "winning wasn't all about him," he said, "you look up and down our lineup and there's a reason we've been in the World Series, it's not just one player, but multiple players that got us there."

Three Yankees players also made the AL starting lineup. Shortstop Derek Jeter will become a 13-time All-Star with teammates Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in the outfield.

Detroit's Prince Fielder will start at first base. Fielder was MVP of last year's All-Star game while playing in the National League for Milwaukee. Fielder signed with Detroit as a free-agent during the winter's off season. On January 26th the slugging first-baseman inked a deal with Detroit calling for a nine-year contract worth $214 million dollars.

Both the AL and NL have one spot left to fill on their rosters. Fans have until Thursday to vote on-line. They need to select one of five on each list. Heading up the NL list is veteran Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves at age 40, with teen-sensation Bryce Harper at age 19 of the Washington Nationals breathing down his neck. Fan sentiment appears to be moving in Chipper Jones favor since this may well be his last year in baseball.

In case you forgot, the team that wins the All-Star game "gains home advantage" in the World Series. The National league won last year, then St.Louis became the ninth straight home team to win Game 7 in the Series. Also, in case you forgot, it was "JOSH HAMILTON & MATES" the Cardinals beat 6-2 in Game 7 of last year's World Series. I was rooting for Hamilton and his Rangers to win last year's World Series. The likable star has fought "demons" his entire career. Drugs - booze - women- He's been up, he's been down, and still fights back. How can you not root for the guy? I'm sure his struggles, his remarkable fight to become an established, legitimate major league player, an inspiration. I'm sure his struggles, strength, determination has rubbed off on all of his teammates. He's been the team's beacon. He's their leader.

In All-Star game history, the National league has won 42 games, the American League 38 games, baseball's had two All-Star game ties. The first in 1961 at Boston's Fenway Park when rain stopped the game after the 9th inning with the score 1-1. The second in 2002 at Miller Park Milwaukee with the score tied at 7-7. Both teams ran out of players. Commissioner Bud Selig was taken over the coals by fans for that embarrassment, and has since made adjustment so ties never occur again.

Baseball's first All-Star game was played at Chicago's Comiskey Park in 1933 - the American league won that game 4-2. The stage is set for an All-Star showdown at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City July 10th. 

I'm rooting for the "Texas Rangers 7" - led by Josh Hamilton, to lead the American League All-Stars to a win..... 

Larry Upton

"Upton on Sports"-source:espnsports/miamiherald/

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