The All-Star game, otherwise known as the “Midsummer Classic”, is truly one of baseball’s greatest spectacles–other than the postseason and World Series of course. The best players pack their bags, partake in pregame ceremonies and play a few innings until all of the players on the rosters are used. One thing that’s been a tradition before the All-Star game is the All-Star game ballot, which is used for fans to feel appreciated and get involved in choosing their players to make up the roster. However, the All-Star Game has lost it’s shine in the last few years, mainly because there have been times a player has been voted into the game but hasn’t truly deserved the honor due to his numbers the first half of the season. It seems nowadays fans are voting in their favorite players simply because they’re their favorites rather than using their stats, hence why I ask if the ballot is nothing more than a popularity contest?
Let’s take Derek Jeter as one example. Yes, we know it’s Derek Jeter’s last year and the fans want to see Jeter in one last All-Star game, but the truth of the matter is Jeter’s numbers don’t justify the votes. Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox has put up better numbers than Jeter but because this is Jeter’s final year on the ballot, Ramirez won’t get the chance to start if voting ended today. We know fans want to honor Jeter like Mariano Rivera was honored in last year’s ASG, but Rivera actually deserved to go with the numbers he put up.
Now, let’s take Brian McCann as another example. He’s second in catching behind the injured Matt Wieters, meaning if voting ended today, McCann would be the one starting the All-Star game. His numbers wouldn’t justify him winning the starting role since hasn’t provided much offense for the Yankees, give and take a few home runs and if there’s anyone who deserves a chance to go, it’s Derek Norris of the Oakland Athletics.
Here’s one final example: The outfield. Jacoby Ellsbury would start the All-Star game if voting ended today, but he hasn’t been putting up All-Star numbers. Sure, he’s stealing bases which is what anyone would want, but he’s not hitting the way he’s capable off and he’s having a pretty rough May. However, he’s in the top three because he’s popular and he switched to the other side of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry.
Sure, the All-Star game is fun and all, but when it’s turned to a popularity contest, players that have actually earned the right to go won’t get to play because the popular players have taken the spots on the roster. It kind of makes me glad MLB decides on the pitchers. It’s all about the stats on that end.