Today, players and fans alike found out just who will be taking part in next week’s All-Star Game festivities in Kansas City.
With that, of course, came a flurry of questionable omissions. Additionally, this year’s crop of elected All-Stars points out definitively that the fan voting system is an absolute joke.
The List of Problematic 2012 All-Star Results
1. David Wright - The New York Mets’ third baseman is hitting .355/.449/.564, having a remarkable season for the resurgent Metropolitans, but…he won’t be starting for the N.L. That role will go to the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, who has played 31 less games than Wright due to his wrist injury. He IS hitting .307 and provides San Francisco with a formidable bat in the middle of a streaky offensive unit, but there’s no way to justify his election over Wright. Giants fans just stuffed the ballot box better.
2. Josh Willingham - he’s having a stellar first season with the Twins, and smacked his 17th home run today. Yes, the American League outfield has a glut of deserving starters, but Willingham (who was very productive for Oakland in 2011 as well) probably deserves to be there as well.
3. Josh Reddick - another snubbed outfielder named Josh, Reddick is having a breakout season for the A’s. After coming over from the Red Sox in the Andrew Bailey deal, Reddick is one of the main reasons the A’s are sniffing around the .500 mark this late into the season, his gritty, inspired play having a reactive effect on the rest of the team. The reality is, had Reddick been on a team like the Giants, there’s little doubt he’d have ended up getting voted in…right?
4. Ryan Vogelsong - the Giants starter is having another impressive under-the-radar season, going 7-3 with a 2.23 ERA thus far, but apparently that radar is still invisible to his National League peers.
5. Mike Napoli - Giants fans aren’t the only ones doing the ballot-stuffing. The Rangers’ catcher is hitting .238 with 12 bombs and 30 RBIs. That doesn’t really warrant a starting All-Star Game nod, right? Yes, he was great for Texas in the World Series last year and has become quite a dangerous slugger after leaving the Angels, and the A.L. has a weak crop of elite catchers (outside of Joe Mauer), but he probably doesn’t belong there either.
6. Matt Kemp - the Dodgers’ outfielder, sidelined with a hamstring injury for quite a while now, will apparently make his return to action as the Home Run Derby captain. Dodger fans had better hope he doesn’t aggravate anything while taking glorified batting practice (presented by State Farm).
7. Chipper Jones - this is the Braves’ third baseman’s swan song season, so why didn’t he get the Cal Ripken Jr. treatment and be voted in? Oh yeah, the Pablo Sandoval thing. Instead, he has to hope for a Final Vote victory. Sigh.
The list could go on and on, but writing it would be a thankless endeavor. Most people know the MLB All-Star Game has become a popularity contest, its starting rosters dictated by which team’s fans can vote the most.
How could this mess be fixed? Well, maybe fan voting has to end (or be limited somehow). They don’t pick the pitchers, so why do they have to pick the starting 9? Limit fan voting and the game might actually reward deserving players rather than electing fan favorites based on past performance.
But then again, it’s just the All-Star Game. Not that it means anything….(oh).
A (slightly bitter) post by Adrian Garro (Twitter)