Well, the first set of All Star votes have been released, and I figured now was a good time to go over them and some of my thoughts on the whole process.
|American League||National League|
|C||Joe Mauer||C||Yadier Molina|
|1B||Mark Teixeira||1B||Albert Pujols|
|2B||Robinson Cano||2B||Chase Utley|
|3B||Evan Longoria||3B||Placido Polanco|
|SS||Derek Jeter||SS||Jimmy Rollins|
|OF||Ichiro Suzuki||OF||Ryan Braun|
|OF||Carl Crawford||OF||Shane Victorino|
|OF||Nelson Cruz||OF||Jayson Werth|
Well, as seems to be the standard, there are a lot of Yankees. What is interesting to see is how many Phillies there are as well. I’m not sure if they have been doing any specific campaigns in Philadelphia to push their guys for the All-Star game, but something seems to be causing all those votes. Realistically, the only players who stand out to me right now as not really playing well enough to earn this honor are Teixeira and Rollins. Teixeira is still hitting only .207/.324/.374, and appears to be off to his worst start ever.
The issue I have with the All-Star game is that you have two concerns here: The voting, which is a popularity contest essentially, and the fact that the game decides who gets home-field advantage in the World Series. First, the voting. It seems like recently that there have been players getting voted to start in the All-Star game that done very little in this season to earn this honor. As a result, there ends up being some player that is left off of the roster because a player was voted in that probably doesn’t belong. Generally it seems like these players end up getting taken care of due to either injuries or players opting out for any number of reasons. However, it seems to me that most years there is some player who is a gross oversight for the roster.
The second problem started when the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie. Ever since, it seems like MLB has been trying to find a way to make the game more compelling. As a result of this thinking, they now give home field advantage in the World Series to whichever league wins the game. To me, they are trying to make this game important to the rest of the season, which it really should not be. The game is not managed the same way, the players don’t play it the same way as a regular season game, and at this point it seems really unfair to ask a manager to manage it like it were a regular season game.
To me, the All Star game really should be about showcasing the top players of the game. It really should have a similar role to the way the NBA All-Star Game is, where the game is kind of this free-for-all where the players are having fun, and that while who wins the game is important, it’s not all that important. One of the things I enjoy the most is seeing all the pomp and circumstance related to the start of the game, watching the players get introduced to either the adoration or scorn of the local fans. It is an exhibition, and really should continue to be one. Hopefully at some point MLB will figure out that the team that plays the best during the regular season should get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But I will watch the game and enjoy it until they do all the same.