The all-star game is designed to be a game for the fans. That’s why Major League Baseball allows for fans to vote in the starters of the game. But are we witnessing a true all-star game in essence or is this just another media hyped example of a popularity contest (see gold-glove awards).
Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers
Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
Looks like fans got this one wrong. Mauer suffers for playing on a losing team while Napoli ho-hums his way onto an all-star team based solely off of last season’s numbers and his popularity with Texas fans who love to vote.
Prince Fielder – Detroit Tigers
Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
This one is a mystery to me. Konerko has outperformed Fielder in every aspect of the game yet still will not be a starter.
Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers
Robinson Cano – NY Yankees
Another mystery. Kinsler isn’t even top 3 in WAR at his position in the AL, yet is the leading vote-receiver. Texas fans once again show they stuff the ballet boxes, regardless of whether a player is deserving or not.
Derek Jeter – NY Yankees
Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
Great. As soon as I finish ranting about Texas stuffing their ballot boxes, Jeter comes along and ruins the whole thing. To be fair, everyone votes for Jeter, Yankees and non-Yankee fans alike.
Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays
Apparently those North of the border don’t bother voting. Lawrie has the highest WAR of any 3B in the AL yet isn’t even top 5 in voting. Texas fans are at it again, despite Beltre not deserving it this year, much like Napoli and Kinsler.
Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson and Jose Bautista
Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Adam Jones
Once again, as soon as I accuse a fan base of not backing their guy, they prove me wrong. Jose Bautista cracks the top 3. Fans probably should have written Trout in already, he’s by far the best OF in the AL this year despite missing the first month of the season when he was hitting .400 in AAA while Mike Scioscia made excuses like “he’s not ready”. One other aspect to keep in consideration, Nelson Cruz is just a couple thousand votes shy of breaking into the top 3. Yes, the same Nelson Cruz that isn’t even top 20 among OF in WAR.
Ortiz, Mauer or Encarnacion
Fans neither got this one wrong or right. Ortiz is a fine choice, but the same can be said about a half dozen other players as well.
As we can see, there isn’t one instance where the fans got the voting right in the American League. Ortiz isn’t a bad selection at all and technically he’s tied for the lead, but these are meaningless details that don’t support my argument. Napoli, Fielder, Kinsler, Jeter, Beltre, Bautista and Granderson look like they’ll all be starting for the AL. An argument could be made that Jeter, Hamilton and Ortiz are the only ones worthy of even making the team this year, much less starting.
What you’re seeing right now is less of an all-star team and more of a Rangers-Yankees love fest. At this rate, the pitching staff for the American League will consist of an injured CC Sabathia, Ian Nova, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish. The most deserving pitchers however are David Price, Chris Sale, C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander.
So when does MLB come to their senses and end this mockery of an all-star game? When will Bud Selig return this game to its former glory? At the very least he could do the right thing and take away the rule that the outcome decides home field advantage in the World Series. This is a case where you either make it a serious game but justifying home field advantage through electing starters based performance and not popularity or you make it a fan game and take away the home field advantage aspect. There’s no wrong way to go about this, the only wrong thing to do would be to mix the seriousness and fan’s game into a jumbled mess and sell it off like it’s a game worth watching like they’re currently doing.
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