Posted by: Opey | June 26, 2007

Power Away From the People…In Baseball Anyways

I am an ardent supporter of the democratic system of government. I know, huge shocker there. But there are a few places in life where giving the masses the vote doesn’t quite deliver the right results for the situation. One such case is the MLB All Star Game. The All Star Game used to be one of those special few days in July where you could see the best of the best of each league take on each other, on the same team. Visions of Pete Rose running over a catcher in one such game is running through my head at this very moment. The Home Run Derby was also one of those times where the game shined, until steroids even clouded that. Then came “Tie-gate” and fan voting. “Tie-gate” is a pretty self explanatory situation where the All Star Game lost a lot of its luster, but it resulted in an idea that was at the very least innovative in giving home field advantage in the World Series to the winning league. Fan voting has a bit more of an obscured negative effect on MLB’s “Mid-Summer Classic.” For those in large markets, it is a great system, allowing for their teams to be adequately represented. For those of us in “small markets,” we feel the sting of being overwhelmed by the masses in New York and California. It is sad that Brewers fans, and baseball fans in general, are elated that Prince will be starting. That should have been guaranteed. He is having far and away the best season of any player in the NL at 1B and it took until only a week or so ago for him to vault over Albert Pujols, who is clearly having a down year and whom Prince is leading in most every stat category except for OBP and AVG. Taking a look at the most recent AL/NL ballot results, available Here (NL) and Here (AL), it is clear that the masses are leading the charge for their big market teams.  There is only one position in the AL (OF) and one position in the NL (1B) where a big market team (Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets) does not have a player in the top two spots.  Now, it may be that these teams are able to aggregate the best talent and therefore should be well represented, but I doubt that.  For example, in the NL at 3B, David Wright is a great player, but how can Miguel Cabrera not be starting.  He leads Wright in every category and is hitting .330 and slugging over .600!!  In the AL, Magglio Ordonez, Tori Hunter, and Grady Sizemore are on par with Vlad Guerrero, Ichiro, and Manny Ramirez, but they lag behind at proportions relative to the size of the markets their teams play in.  There is a reason why pitchers are not selected by the fans.  It should be the same way for the position players.  I’m slightly more of a fan of giving fans the ability to vote for the last guy on.  The choices are limited so they can take out undeserving players, but market size still has undue influence in this process as well.  This is just another instance of MLB playing to the large markets in search of the almighty dollar.  If their players are in, people in New York, California, and other large markets will tune in and pump up the ratings.  The game will suffer.  The only way to give the game its legitimacy back is to allow the players themselves to vote for who is represented.  These are the guys who are at every game and know the ins and outs more than some guy sitting in the upper decks that watches 2 out of 3 games and tunes into ESPN occasionally.  In addition, do away with the one player per team minimum.  This may seem like a Brewer fan now spouting off after coming out of the depths with his team, but I advocated this 5 years ago when the Crew was awful.  There are a handful of players that are undeserving that are just taking up spots for more deserving players.  Through the implementation of player voting, the removal of the 1 player per team minimum, and the intrigue provided by the home field advantage prize, the All Star Game would be able to get back some of the greatness it has lost over the past few years.

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