2011 MLB All Star Game: Head of the Players Union Defends 15 Missing All Stars

The controversy around 15 players skipping the 2011 MLB All Star Game has been met with a shrug of the shoulders by union chief Michael Weiner.

He recently told ESPN that the vast amount of missing players is not something that happens every year:

I think what you're seeing this year is just a bunch of individual circumstances that have added up. I think players understand the importance of the All-Star Game to the fans. They understand the honor it is to participate in the All-Star Game. By and large, I think players are excited to participate in the game. I just think we happened to have a series of circumstances this year, including a lot of Sunday starters, that have led to this situation.

He has a point when it comes to starting pitchers. A new rule put into effect this season makes any starting pitcher that took the mound the Sunday before the break are not eligible to play.

That knocked San Franciso Giants Matt Cain, Philadelphia Phillies Cole Hamels, Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander, Seattle Mariners Felix Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays James Shield and New York Yankees C.C. Sabbathia out of the game. All six were replaced.

There are five players that are currently on the DL, thus ineligible to play.

Phillies' Shane Victorino, Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones, New York Mets Jose Reyes, Boston Red Sox Jon Lester and the Yankees Alex Rodriguez are all nursing various injuries and will be missed.

Yankees Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter aren't on the DL but have been dealing with pain and need the time off. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun and Phillies' third basemen Placido Polanco are not on the DL either, but have been absent from their teams respective line-ups over the past week.

With such a long season it's easy to under stand players want the time off to relax. But the dilluted rosters are going to hurt the star power...and ultimately the ratings for the mid-summer classic.

—Eric Ball