Well, the All-Star tabulations are in, and once again, the process for selecting the players for the midsummer classic is flawed.
Every year, experts and analysts sit in front of a TV camera or computer and tell us which players deserve to start the All-Star Game. At the same time, teams are telling their fans to “vote up to 25 times per email address.”
Inevitably, a player that wasn’t deserving of starting the game gets the nod and experts flip out.
If you haven’t noticed, the All-Star Game has an identity crisis. Everyone associated with the game wants the best 68 players selected. But the fans get to vote for the starting lineups. When you involve common fans, and their favorite teams are imploring them to vote as many times as possible, you’re asking for disaster.
The Giants were huge beneficiaries of this flawed process.
Are Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey All-Star caliber players? Absolutely.
Are either Sandoval or Posey worthy of starting the All-Star Game for the National League in 2012? Absolutely not.
But All-Star starters are not decided by stats. It’s a popularity contest. It’s baseball’s version of American Idol.
If All-Star starters were determined by stats or by experts that watch every team, the Mets’ David Wright would been the obvious choice to start at third base for the NL and it wouldn’t have been that close. Wright is in the conversation for NL MVP.
Sandoval isn’t even the most valuable Giant. If he hadn’t been voted in by the fans, it’s very likely he would not be going to Kansas City next week. Sandoval has the batting average, but St. Louis third baseman David Freese has 100 more at-bats, twice as many home runs, almost double Pablo’s RBI total and needs to win the “final vote” to just make the team.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield dubbed Sandoval’s selection the ”worst National League fan selection.”
Sandoval talked with CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly about Wright’s season:
“He’s having a great year. I’m surprised I made it because I think he’s had a great year. But the fans give you great support. They give you a push.”
Yep, it took all the strength Giants fan had to push Pablo over the finish line.
Wright told the media that he was okay with the outcome:
“That’s the way the system is. I understand how the system works and I respect the system. Pablo’s having a very good year. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I don’t get the chance to start, but I’m going to do everything I can to help win that game.”
And with all due respect to Posey, he’s been the third best catcher in the National League this year. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz is leading the major’s in hitting with a .356 average. Cardinals back-stop Yadier Molina is leading the NL with 13 home runs.
The silver-lining is that Wright, Ruiz and Molina all made the All-Star team as reserves. But Wright and Ruiz should be starting.
That’s the problem with allowing the fans to vote for the players involved in a game that decides which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series. MLB can’t have it both ways. If they want fans to vote, this game can’t have such important ramifications. If they want the game to mean something, they can’t let fans vote in players that don’t deserve to be there.
Need another reason why the fan selection process is flawed? The ballots are compiled before the season. MLB asks teams to nominate players for each position. That meant Freddy Sanchez was the Giants representative on the ballot despite the fact that he hasn’t played a single game for the Giants this season.
Somehow, Sanchez received over two million votes and finished fourth in voting among NL second basemen. SB Nation’s Ernie Pomin called it “insanity.”
Oh, and Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt finished in second place in their respective votes. Giants fans, I know you love them, but they are not All-Stars.
In light of Wright’s snub, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson posted this on his personal Twitter feed:
New York Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay went on the attack against Mets fans Monday evening: