The fallacies of the MLB’s All-Star votingPublished 11:24am Monday, July 8, 2013
With the boys of summer having taken the top spot for televised sport for the time being, I have to say that I’ve been missing out on quite the entertaining MLB season.
Not that I’m complaining, as hockey and basketball have done more than their part to keep my sports fan entertained, but for those who are more enthralled by the original “National Pastime,” they have plenty to be happy about.
Miguel Cabrera is adding to his status as the game’s best hitter with every swing, the Pittsburgh Pirates are good (!) and the St. Louis Cardinals are chugging along as one of the best teams in the league, which is good for me as a fan.
In addition, Alex Rodriguez was told to “shut the f*** up,” and any time a Yankee is spoken to like that, an angel gets its wings, or something to that effect.
But to me, the biggest story has probably been rookie sensation Yasiel Puig taking the league by storm while playing out of his mind for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
You can take a look at his stats, if you don’t believe me.
Since landing in the majors, Puig is hitting .443, with eight home runs and 17 RBIs.
More importantly, the Dodgers have been wining more, as they are now in contention in the National League West.
On first glance, those power numbers don’t look like much, but he’s only been in the big leagues for a month.
Unsurprisingly, he’s garnered considerable All-Star buzz, as many feel he deserves to play in the Midsummer Classic.
However, there are a few people who don’t see it that way. One guy in particular is Jonathan Papelbon, who serves as the closer for the Philadelphia Philles.
He said, and I quote, “The guy’s got a month. I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues.
“Just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the All-Star team, that’s a joke to me.”
So that got me thinking.
I thought about how much of a joke it is to consider someone an All-Star in general after a half season of work and not a full season.
I thought about how much of a joke it is for the MLB to require that every team have at least one player chosen to the game, even if there’s a valid reasoning from a marketing perspective, on the MLB’s part to do so.
And I thought about how much of a joke it is for someone to claim that Puig shouldn’t be an All-Star, when perennial fan favorite Derek Jeter was included on the ballot despite suffering an injury lasts season that was sure to keep him off the field until after the All-Star break.
Granted, Jeter may be one of about three Yankees about whom no one has anything disparaging to say, but considering that this is the fans’ choice, who cares what one talented yet outspoken relief pitcher has to say?
This game may “count” for two teams that have yet to be determined, but when the fans have such a significant say on who takes the field, then who cares how long someone has been in the league?
This game is about entertainment. That’s the only reason why the game “counts” as it is, to increase fan interest in the game.
However, I don’t think the average MLB fan bases his or her choices for the MLB All-Star teams off of who will give their team the best chance to win the Fall Classic.
And if the All-Star game was taken as seriously as the MLB would like it to be, then I wouldn’t expect to see every single player setting foot on the field unless they are the best of bunch.
But I digress. The point is this: Puig, while not on the All-Start ballot, has garnered a ton of fan support via write-in votes to get the apparent phenom in the game.
If the fans want to see him play, then he should play, even if he has only had one good month.
Funny thing is, I don’t see anyone complaining about Justin Upton, who is probably going to land himself a selection despite doing about 85 percent of his statistical work during the opening month of the season.
Ah well, you can’t have it both ways.
Maybe it’s time the MLB realized that it can’t have it both ways, either.
Bailey is sports editor for The Outlook.