It's the last week of April which in my hyper critical world has become synonymous with the start of All-Star Game Ballot. You could have started your maximum of 25 votes per valid email address this past Monday, or near limitless voting at the Ballpark (I'd assume sometime this week). Similar to the argument that I have articulated in previous seasons, my problem from this come from two issues, that are connected.
How can you decide an All-Star less than 25 games into the season?
It is a fair assessment to say that 25 games is still not a good statement of whether someone is having an All-Star season or not. It is still the length of a hot streak. Wright last season was a great example of this. He had a fairly cold April, but then the rest of season he was David Wright. I know that the counter statement for this argument is that voting goes on through June, and that balances it out. Well my response to that is start voting in late May. Yeah it's less votes and less money (which is the driver of this entire process), but it would be a more accurate assessment of All-Star game. Starting voting this early just has people voting for the big names they want to see play.
That brings me to point number 2. That is what this is, a popularity contest. There is nothing wrong with that. If people want to watch a group of players be on the same team and play another group of players, then it is a great thing we do this, but it isn't really an All-Star game. The only part of the All-Star in this now is the pitching and the bench, picked by the manager. Those players, generally, truly deserve to play in a game called the “All Star Game”. Some of the players on the starting roster all deserve this honor, but not all of them.
It is this distinction between All-Star and Fan Favorite that get blurred in having voting start so early. The loser is the weight of accolade the title All Star has, but the winner is still the fan. So in essence, the losers are then really people like me who seek out to complain about this topic year after year, because no one is really hurt by it.
I'll still complain about this again next season.