Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The “No All-Star Ballot B4 June 1” Movement

Voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is underway, which is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous because each team has played only about twenty-five games so far this season and so there is simply not enough evidence on which to judge the players’ performance. That is why I will not fill out an All-Star ballot until June 1. I hope, if you care about this issue as much as I do—and I realize that there is a very, very slim chance that you do—that you will join me in the “No MLB All-Star Ballot B4 June 1” Movement.

To vote at this early date is to participate in a popularity contest rather than in a merit-based selection process. That voting for the Mid-Summer Classic has deteriorated into a popularity poll is underscored by the way that the teams encourage their fans to vote for the home team’s players. While I understand the desire of fans to support their favorite team’s players, to deem someone All-Star worthy because of the uniform he wears is silly.

I’m a Braves fan and there are some Braves who will deserve serious consideration from me or from somebody in Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine. If Andrelton Simmons is not the starting National League shortstop then they ought to cancel the game. Freddie Freeman, Evan Gattis, and Justin Upton should get a lot of votes. But no one who is paying any attention at all should vote for Dan Uggla, Chris Johnson, B. J. Upton, or Jayson Heyward. And, while fans (thankfully) don’t select the pitching staffs, National League Manager Mike Matheney might, the way things are going, have to give serious consideration to the Braves’ entire starting rotation.

While I recognize that without the fans there would be no Major League baseball, I still believe that the entire roster of the two teams, including the starting lineups, should be selected by the managers and players of each respective league, since they are the ones who see all the players play and who know their true contributions to their teams. It’s a good thing that the on-line fan ballot gives each player’s up-to-date batting statistics, but those stats tell only a part of the story. What about each player’s defensive play? Or base running? Or hustle? Or leadership? I say let professional baseball people pick the All-Star teams so that the best teams made up of the most deserving players will be on the field.

The bottom line for me is that players should be judged on as large a portion as possible of their body of work and by people who are truly qualified to know whether they are of All-Star quality.

So join the movement! Show your support! On Twitter use #NoMLBAllStarBallotB4June1. Go to Facebook and like the No MLB All-Star Ballot B4 June 1 page. But whatever you do, please don’t cast your ballot(s) until June 1.

By the way, having the outcome of the All-Star Game determine home field advantage for the World Series is ridiculous, too, but we’ll save that movement for another year …

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