David White: Baseball slow to catch on to Casey McGehee's all-star caliber season

Special to The BeeJuly 12, 2014 

Miami Marlins players have gotten used to congratulating Casey McGehee, center, for a wide range of heroics that somehow slipped past the collective conscience of the baseball world.

ALAN DIAZ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Who you calling a Non-All Star?

Better not be talking about one of Fresno State's finest in Casey McGehee, the most hittingest third baseman in all the National League. McGehee is an All-Star ballplayer, even if democracy failed the Miami Marlins third baseman this past week.

No NL third baseman has a better batting average or on-base percentage or runs socked in or doubles legged out. His 114 hits are most in the league, third basemen or otherwise. Same goes for his batting average with runners in scoring position.

Which brings us to all the All-Star Game fan voters, and players, and manager, who triple-teamed to leave McGehee off the 33-man roster.

They'd like to point out McGehee has just one home run while playing at a power position, but who cares how McGehee plates his teammates if he's doing it more often than anyone else? If we're going to let home runs trump all stats, then we're just begging for the steroid era to stage a comeback.

If third base really is the hot corner, McGehee's corner is most scalding of all. No omission from the Minnesota Summer Games is going to change that.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason everyone left McGehee off the All-Star circuit is because no one realized he was still around. Admit it: most of you thought he was still on the Brewers, and that ship sailed five teams and three years ago.

Last year, he was ordering takeout in Japan, shipped off the major league grid to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

The year before, he was hitting — well, perhaps hitting is too strong a verb for it — .230 for the Pirates, who traded him to the Yankees in midseason, only for the Stripes to kick his .151 average to the postseason curb.

Unwanted in Milwaukee after three seasons, dismissed by the Cubs after one rookie season ... the story here isn't that McGehee is having a breakout season at age 31. The real story is that he found yet another taker this year.

Maybe this is why McGehee is taking his All-Star snub so swimmingly. He's a major league baseball player again, and after all he's been through, that will more than do.

If nothing else, he can take a three-day break to catch his breath after a whirlwind of interviews with ESPN Radio, USA Today and everyone else who's fallen head-over-cleats for his comeback story.

"I have three big plans: catch some fish, see some friends, and I've never actually cut my own grass in my own house because it is already brown and dead by the time I get home," McGehee told reporters. "So I'm going to borrow somebody's lawnmower and go cut some grass. I don't know why.

"Seriously, cutting the grass is something I'm looking forward to."

Here's something else McGehee wants to do: keep a suitcase packed, just in case the Marlins take him down to the local swap meet.

Miami is going nowhere, and taking its time doing so. This is the month playoff contenders chase hot hitters. Few are hotter than McGehee.

We know one team begging for some swing to stay afloat in the second half: a certain National League team not too far from McGehee's roots in Aptos, one that has a Panda at third base but should know McGehee plays first base just the same.

Just think of a Giants batting order with Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Casey McGehee and Michael Morse in the thick of it. Or do you prefer losing, Something to Nothing, with Brandon Belt popping up cans of corn all day at first base?

If the Giants or anyone else wants an All-Star option, McGehee is the guy — whether he's an official All-Star or not. Throw in a lawn mower, and McGehee would be all for it.

The columnist can be reached at bydw@sbcglobal.net or @bydavidwhite on Twitter.

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