Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fans Have Proved That They Should Not Vote for All Star Game

It's long been known that the All Star Game isn't so much a game for the best players in the league as it is a game for the most popular. Just like those high school class president votes; popularity matters and not much else.

Frequently deserving players are left off the All Star rosters in favor of more high profile candidates; be they deserving of the nomination or not. A look at any of the past American League All Star rosters shows one thing for certain; either the Yankees and Red Sox have every all star on their teams or the fans don't have a clue what they're doing.

This year's AL starters feature only three players who don't wear the pinstripes or the Boston "B." And Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila needed a last minute campaign by teammates Justin Verlander and Brad Penny to draw attention to his stats. Despite putting up much more impressive numbers than New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin he trailed by 400,000 votes in the final week of voting. It was only with Verlander and Penny pushing people to actually look at the numbers that people finally saw that Avila was the true all star.

While Avila benefited from having teammates who could rally enough people to check the stats and vote the right guy in, Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera didn't have the same luck. He was a victim of fans blindly voting for Yankees players. Unfortunately Cabrera happens to play the same position as Derek Jeter; and despite Jeter's unremarkable season so far, plus a stint on the DL, he was voted a starter simply because he is Jeter.

Through July 6, Cabrera was second among all American League shortstops for batting average with a .292 while knocking in 49 and stealing 12 bases. Jeter was ranked eighth on the list of shortstops with a .257 average, 22 RBI and 7 steals. The only player rated higher than Cabrera was Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta who is boasting a .314 average and 49 RBI. Cabrera is performing at a much level than Jeter and deserves to make the starting lineup. A case could also be made for Peralta who was entirely snubbed by being left off the All Star reserve list.

The list of American League first basemen that are performing to all star levels is cluttered, but again there is an obvious snub by voters. While Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is well deserving of his starting role, the fans again need to work harder at voting in deserving players. The top two first basemen are indeed included on the All Star roster, in Gonzalez and Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera, but Chicago White Sox fans may not be seeing Paul Konerko in Arizona.

Konerko is included in the "Final Man" voting for the last spot on the AL squad and he deserves to make it to Glendale later this month. With stats like a .319 BA, 64 RBI and a .961 OPS he has "all star" written all over him. The good news is that after much talk about him being snubbed on shows like ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," the fans have taken to voting for him and he is leading in the "Final Man" voting.

These kind of snubs show a general lack of knowledge on the part of the average baseball fan, they simply vote for the players that they have heard of, mainly Yankees and Red Sox thanks to oversaturation by ESPN, instead of the players that are actually deserving of a trip to the All Star Game.

This problem could easily be remedied by taking the vote away from the fans and giving to the Baseball Writers Association, if they are trusted enough to vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame they are the people who would be able to select the players that were most deserving. Fans could still be involved if they were given the opportunity to vote for the "Final Man," of the five players who drew the lowest number of votes from the writers. It would allow fan involvement while still insuring that the best players made it to the All Star Game.

No comments:

Post a Comment