For those of you who aren't San Francisco Giants fans, the two gentlemen in the picture above are Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford.
Neither is having a year worthy of inclusion in the 2012 Major League All-Star Game, but the Kung Fu Panda is starting the Midsummer Classic at third base over the New York Mets' David Wright. Meanwhile Crawford came within 300,000 votes and change of supplanting the St. Louis Cardinals' Rafael Furcal as the National League's starting shortstop.
We'll get to Pablito in due course so let's deal with Crawford.
As a Giants die-hard, I've become a fan—the kid has a slick glove and has settled down in the field after a brutal start, but he is basically half a major-league player at this point. He's showing signs of life at the plate in recent weeks, yet he's posting a slash line of .232/.282/.328 and he's been caught stealing (twice) as many times as he's hit a home run (once) or successfully swiped a bag (once).
Sure, he's been playing like an All Star for weeks now, but even focusing on D, you can't ignore the early season yips that led to 12 errors. Again, I don't mean to pick on BC, but that he's even in the all-star discussion is borderline insane.
And the lunacy doesn't stop there.
The Gents' sometimes-starter Brandon Belt was the second leading vote-getter at first base behind Joey Votto. Freddie Sanchez can't even be properly classified as a second baseman this year since he has yet to lace 'em up for San Francisco , but he somehow managed to finish fourth in the voting at the keystone.
Of course, you can't really blame the people doing the voting—as has been said before, "fan" is short for "fanatic" for a reason.
What you can do is blame Major League Baseball for making it entirely too easy to stuff the ballot box and, consequently, giving the casual fan far too much influence.
But before we get to the blame-and-fix portion of the program, let's take a look at the most egregious consequences of the 2012 ballot-box stuffing fiasco.