Congratulations to David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Lowell and Hideki Okajima, your 2007 Boston Red Sox American League All-Stars.

Now do yourselves and your team a favor. Stay home!

Tell `em your grandmother died. Even if she died 15 years ago. Hey, Manny’s grandmothers have either been sick or kicked the bucket the last seven years running. It’s worked for him. Heck, just tell `em Manny’s grammy died and he needs help selling her grill on eBay.

I know the thousands that stuffed the ballot box at Fenway and the thousands more of get-a-lifers who clicked on your name 25 times on-line will be disappointed. This isn’t about them, though. If they think an All-Star game is more important than your readiness for the second half of the season, they’re not real Red Sox fans. They probably wear pink hats anyway, so who cares what they think.

There are more reasons for you not to got to San Francisco than go.

First of all, the American League doesn’t need you. Jim Leyland could replace you all with Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the AL would still destroy the National League. Home-field advantage for the World Series is in the bag. It’s up to you guys to rest up so you can help your team wrest home field from the Angels, Indians and Tigers.

Second, you could get hurt. Ted Williams broke his elbow running into the outfield wall at Wrigley Field in 1950. Pedro Martinez threw his shoulder out in the 1999 game at Fenway. The last thing we need is Papelbon or Okajima getting a line drive off their big toe and leaving us with Mike Timlin in the eighth or ninth.

Third, several of you really could use the rest. Papi’s legs are sore. Lowell has a history of wearing down in the second half. Papelbon’s shoulder couldn’t make it through a full season last year. Who knows if Okajima has another 40 appearances in him like he did in the first half? And Manny’s worrying me because he’s been int he lineup every day and we haven’t had an incident yet. I think he needs a couple of mental health days.

Fourth, this will be your third cross country trip this season, and you’ve still got one more West Coast swing to go with the Sox. Haven’t had enough jet lag already? And you can’t get away with using amphetamines anymore. Just ask Neifi Perez while you’re in Detroit.

Along those same lines, it’d probably just be a good idea to stay away from the San Francisco area for the time being. I’ve got a feeling that once Bonds breaks the record, a lot of stuff is going to start going down, if you know what I mean.

Nah, just stay home. Take the wife out to dinner. Play with the kids. Get some sleep. Report to Fenway next Thursday refreshed and ready to go. The Red Sox need you a lot more than the American League.

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