We are all led to believe that the All-Star weekend of our favourite sport is a showcase of the games best players. Leagues try to make this weekend of festivities as fan friendly as possible by allowing fans to vote for the starting lineups. For the MLB, you can fill out their ballot according to the following decree:
Vote on-line. Vote up to 5 times every 24 hours (up to a total of 35 ballots).
Before the rant goes into full force, let’s make one thing clear, the MLB All-Star Game is the most legitimate of the All-Star games among the Big 4 of North American Sports. The NHL is so desperate to keep their All-Star game relevant they keep changing their rules trying to find something that works. The NBA All-Star game is fun to watch but last year included moments like Steph Curry laying down on defense to remind everyone that only offense is being highlighted in their showcase. The NFL Pro Bowl, well, if you are one the dozen people who watched it, you deserve the title of diehard football fan.
What damages the legitimacy of the MLB All-Star Game is the fan vote. Why give a fan 35 opportunities to vote? Are there any good that comes out of this other than ballot box stuffing and more page views for MLB.com, and driving up their advertising rates? Sure it’s great fodder for each team’s social media accounts to campaign for their players to be voted in, but you do not cut your nose off to spite your own face.
Some baseball fans do not participate in the voting process for the simple fact they do not have the time to submit 35 ballots. Why bother to put your one vote in for Nolan Arenado to start at third base when you know some Miami Marlins fan is going to give their 35 votes to their home team third baseman Martin Prado. With the Cubs shedding their “luvable loser” tag by winning the World Series, their bandwagon is bursting at the seems with folks willing to find time to put 35 ballots in for Kris Bryant to start at third base.
The elephant in the room here is that a significant number of those fans who find the time to submit the maximum 35 ballots have more than just one e-mail. Let’s be honest, there’s a large contingent of people that have more than one personal e-mail plus a work e-mail. So that’s 70-105 votes for an obsessive Canadian fan to use on Philadelphia Phillie Michael Saunders to get into the All-Star ahead of a plethora of more deserving NL outfielders.
The Argument For More Than One Vote
Okay, ratcheting the fan vote number down to 1 might be too extreme because then the baseball fan is torn between voting between his home team favourite versus the more deserving starter at a given position. A great example of this would be Red Sox fans having to choose Jose Altuve over Dustin Pedroia. But wait, isn’t this the whole point of voting?! To select the best option at every position? No one said this was going to be easy.
Not every fan is a diehard fan of one team. With these fans, ballot box stuffing is not an issue, but herein lies the difficulty of filling out a “correct” ballot.
Do you fill out a ballot by giving the start to the player at a given position simply based on this season’s numbers alone? Which number do you choose as your guiding light - homers, RBI, batting average? In the case of AL Catcher, if you are using the sexy HR as your guide, you are voting for Salvador Perez. If RBI is the stat category that lights your fire then Brian McCann is your match. Welington Castillo is your batting average leader if that’s the route you choose based on numbers.
How much does nostalgia play into your All-Star vote? If you do not like the word “nostalgia”, then use the words “past performance”. The Rockies DJ LeMahieu is the defending NL batting champ. Daniel Murphy, the man DJLM beat last season by .001, is having a better start to this season, does Murphy get your vote because of the better start? The Atlanta Braves Brandon Phillips, last seen in an All-Star Game in 2013 as a representative of the Cincinnati Reds, is having a renaissance year thus far batting .312, does he get your vote?
Baseball highlight packs always include homers. New York Yankee Aaron Judge tied the April rookie record with 10 homers this season. Does that make him a shoe-in for the All-Star game? Does the dazzling defense of Toronto Blue Jay Kevin Pillar, combined with a .300 batting average, earn him in a spot in All-Star outfield?
Filling out an All-Star ballot is hard but you should not get 5 chances a day to get it right. There is no right or wrong way to fill out a ballot, only righter or wronger ways. If you are going to trust your fans with the vote, then you have to trust that every diehard Texas Ranger fan will not vote for the injured Adrian Beltre to start at third base and every Baltimore Oriole fan will not vote for the 2016 home run king Mark Trumbo (he has only 2 as of this writing).
My Imperfect Ballot
|POSITION||AMERICAN LEAGUE||NATIONAL LEAGUE|
|CATCHER||Welington Castillo||Buster Posey|
|FIRST BASE||Justin Smoak||Mark Reynolds|
|SECOND BASE||Jose Altuve||Daniel Murphy|
|SHORTSTOP||Carlos Correa||Trea Turner|
|THIRD BASE||Chase Headley||Nolan Arenado|
|OUTFIELD||Mike Trout||Bryce Harper|
|OUTFIELD||Kevin Pillar||Charlie Blackmon|
|OUTFIELD||Steven Souza Jr||Yoenis Cespedes|