“But this is America!’ It’s a democracy! The average citizen should have a say in everything!” No. Not when it comes to the MLB All-Star game and for a certain Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder.
When I was a young lad, I thought the Fan Voting for the ASG was just super. “All right, I get to vote for my favorite players up to 25 times!” That was my thought process in 2006 when the mid-summer classic was here in my hometown of Pittsburgh. But as I have grown older, I have seen the light when it comes to fan voting, and the light tells me that it is dumb as hell.
I get what fan voting is. It’s a chance to figure out not who the best players are, but rather who the most popular players are. Is stuffing a ballot box with votes for every player on your favorite team enjoyable? Sure. I haven’t gone that far, but I could see the appeal in something like that. But you know what else would be enjoyable? If every extra inning contest came down to a home run derby with five players from each team taking turns trying to hit one out. That might be fun to watch, eh? But it will never happen, because, ultimately, it would not benefit the game. Fan voting is the same way.
Two victims of the atrocity that is fan voting are two of our own in Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. Both Pirate outfielders are having wonderful seasons that are All-Star worthy. Polanco was snubbed, while Marte only made it due to Yoenis Cespedes. Meanwhile, a scrub like Chicago’s Addison Russel, made it in as the starting by-god shortstop despite having a meager .235 average and .746 OPS. You see what my gripe is here? As important as fans are to baseball, baseball people should decide who baseball’s best are.
So here is what I would do if I were running the game. I would have the people that get paid to know stuff about baseball control the votes. To limit potential controversy, a requirement should be that no member of an organization will cast a vote for a fellow member of said group. For example, Clint Hurdle would not be allowed to cast a vote for Starling Marte, nor would Bruce Bochy for Buster Posey.
This would be done by a member of each team, maybe an intern, printing out a ballot and copying it for all organizational members to fill out. Also, representatives from National League teams would only be able to vote for players from other NL squads and vice versa. Without further ado, here are the people who should have a say in who the “All-Stars” are.
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The Managers/Coaching Staffs
No explanation needed. Managers are paid to know what players are best, and they have as good a look at the game as anybody. Don’t you think Clint Hurdle knows a little more about baseball than the guy who sits five seats from you in row Z?
The Front Office (GM’s Assistant GM’s, Scouts, etc.
I mean, they only evaluate every player known to man. They know what’s up.
An excellent way to judge a player is to see what his peers think of him. Players know others from opposing teams well enough to have a say. If the men who battle against another man feel that he is worthy of selection than what better measure is there to judge?
The Baseball Writers Association
You could make a case for all certified sports writers voting the All-Star team, but I think it would be better if the writers that vote are certified as specifically baseball writers. If they help decide who gets elected to the Hall of Fame, they should assist in determining who gets elected to the ASG.
Why not? These guys watch more baseball than anybody. They work as hard for their organizations as anybody, and they are far more reliable than the so-called “common man”. Who would you trust more in evaluating players; Vin Scully, or Todd the Accountant?
Some may argue that players like David Ortiz have earned the right to be a part of the classic every summer. Well, if the real experts feel that way, then they’ll vote the legends in. I’m not trying to say that this method of voting would be infallible, as the people inside the game might have different opinions than somebody like you or me. But it would be a hell of a lot better than having just anybody vote. I’m sure Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco would attest to that.
Unfortunately, I don’t see the people who’s opinions on this subject actually matter changing a thing. I’m sure if somebody asked Rob Manfred about the matter, he would spew some nonsense about how voting keeps the fans interested in the game. Rubbish. Major League Baseball would not lose a dime on the All-Star game or anything else if fan voting were abolished. But it is what it is. Fans, have fun stuffing your ballot boxes. You’ll be able to do it for quite some time. I hope you like that. God knows I don’t.