I am declaring myself the Medium High Emperor of All-Star Game Voting. Why? Why not? Nobody else has declared themselves “Medium High Emperor”, have they? Besides, it sounds good, and I think it will look great on my updated resume. There are no actual responsibilities or powers that come with the title, but it should be enough to remind me once a year to gripe about All-Star voting. Actually, let’s just call it what it really is – MLB’s fluffy popularity contest x25. It’s that “x25″ that’s important, because MLB wants you to vote 25x, so the numbers will be outlandishly huge. If they are lucky, a billion people will cast ballots in this year’s election….or at least it will kinda sorta seem that way. When someone mentions in an article or on tv that Albert Pujols has well over 2 million votes, do you stop to wonder how many people that actually represents? Nope. That’s what the folks at MLB’s integrated “Marketing, Public Relations & Deep Thoughts” department want. Imagine how great it looks to potential advertisers, if the top vote-getter receives 5M+ votes this year. (Forget that 2 kids in Soulard are making up email addys and spoofing their IP address somehow to cast 4,000 votes for Aaron Miles.) Cha-ching.
They are counting money, and they are counting on fans to vote for their favorites. That means big money, and it also means big names, even if more deserving players don’t get voted onto the teams. Some say that the game is for the fans, so it’s not a matter of “more deserving”. Crap on them. It’s ignorance. That’s why I’ve written this guide, because ignorance is simply no excuse.
- Andrew McCutchen is the best player tons of people have ignored. He’s hitting .287 / .369 / .465 / .834 with 10 hr, 37 rbi and a 3.6 WAR, but he’s not in the top 15 vote getters at the OF position in the NL. According to Fangraphs, only Jose Reyes and Matt Kemp have a higher WAR in the NL so far this season.
- The voting won’t even be close, but Jose Reyes deserves the start over Troy Tulowitzki at SS this year. Not only has Reyes been productive, but he’s also been incredibly exciting to watch, and he’s helped make the Mets respectable in a season without Johan Santana and not enough David Wright (only played 39 games).
- If you don’t already know that Rickie Weeks is better than Brandon Phillips, then just consider the 4 yr / $38.5M deal the Brewers gave to Weeks. He’s that important and that good.
- Pablo Sandoval has played in 25 games, and he’s 3rd in the voting at 3B in the NL. Ridiculous. Chipper Jones is 2nd with Placido Polanco 1st. No love at all for Ryan Roberts in Arizona. He leads the other guys I just named in HR, wOBA, and WAR, but he’s not even in the top 5 vote getters.
- You can take shots at me all you want for this, but I don’t think Pujols deserves the start at 1st. Prince Fielder gets the Emperor’s nod this season, but Albert is starting to build his case with a late run at it.
- That’s just the NL, so don’t get me started on the AL where I would argue that nobody not named Alexei Ramirez or Asdrubal Cabrera even deserves serious consideration at SS this season. Go with Cabrera for offense, or go with Ramirez if you like the more traditional SS who can hit and flash the leather.
- Be sure to give Denard Span some love. He gets lost among the Jose Bautistas, Curtis Grandersons, and Jacoby Ellsburys of this world, but Span has earned some love this year. Please, please with sugar on top give it to him.
Here is the one glaring problem I see: If the All-Star game is for the fans, then it shouldn’t decide home-field advantage for anything. It’s either a huge, 3-ring circus of a exhibition game, or it should really count. Right now it counts, but it’s mostly treated like a circus. It shouldn’t count for anything….especially WS home field advantage.
I’ve got a few better ideas for how to decide that advantage though.
- Alternating every year. It’s old school, and it’s predictable. It’s also legitimate. Alternatively, just have either the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies host the entire series every year, because that’s really what Bud Selig wants.
- Coin flip. Actually, coin flips. Millions of them. Fill a cement mixer with millions of pennies that get dumped into a spillway and have some geeks from some snooty accounting firm like Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe count them.
- 4 words – giant hot dog race. Play the music from the Benny Hill Show during the race. Yes, please.
- One massive golf cart polo match – winner take all.
- Capture the flag on a gigantic course. By rule, Jonathan Broxton and CC Sabathia must represent their teams.
- Dance, Dance Revolution one-on-one challenge. League with the most head-to-head victories wins.
- Cage match among radio play-by-play announcers. NL vs AL.
- Special “Survival Week” with Bear Grylls or Les Stroud. Bonus points for announcing “I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only have to outrun Prince Fielder.” Team obstacle course at the end with “special” scorpion and squiggly thing diet.
Bonus – Make the All-Star game more interesting:
- Make it a double-header with the minor league All-Star game first.
- Since the game already has some artificially arbitrary (stupid) rules anyway, why not add a few more? In the event of extra innings, a position player removed before the 5th inning, can return after the 9th. He just has to change jerseys and play under an assumed name that you wouldn’t associated with a legitimate major league ballplayer (like Tejada).
- No game shall ever end in a tie. There is no tying in baseball. I don’t care if you need a shootout or sudden death started by a kickoff to decide things. No ties.
- Pull random loudmouth fans from the crowd and let them have a shot at hitting a Roy Halladay or Aroldis Chapman fastball. Heck, give them 9 chances. Tell them exactly what pitch is coming. Show them just how hard it is to hit it. If they make contact, donate some money to a charity of their choice.
- More explosives. Every game needs more pyrotechnics, and the All-Star game is no exception. Just need that kid that says “boom goes the dynamite”, and we’re set.
- Glowing baseball. No, not like the glowing puck for tv purposes. Make the baseball really glow.
- If the game reaches the 10th inning, Bud Selig becomes the “all-time pitcher” for both teams, and he pitches from 40-feet away. No L-shaped screen, either.
- After the 12th inning, the game reverts to an “Old-Timers” game of retired players. That means that guys like Cal Ripken Jr, Mark McGwire, and John Smoltz can take the field. John Kruk may take the field as well, but I’d ask that he be allowed to play with a donut in one hand.
- Buster Posey – .284 / .368 / .389 / .756 with 4 hr and 21 rbi
- Brian McCann – .274 / .340 / .393 / .733 with 4 hr and 25 rbi
- Yadier Molina – .318 / .364 / .470 / .834 with 3 hr and 21 rbi
TIDBIT: This wasn’t originally intended to be a rant. Once I got going, I felt like Dennis Miller minus the big words and arcane references. An alternative to my suggestions is to just stuff the ballot with Cardinal players like Pujols, Molina, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday. Just a thought.
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