Josh Willingham's Snub Proves How Awful the MLB All-Star Selection Process Is
The smoke has cleared for the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and while workers at Kauffman Stadium are cleaning up "We Hate Cano" and "Billy Butler!" signs at a remarkable rate, there's still something to complain about.
While it's not a story that deserves national attention on its own merit, the snub of Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham has made a mockery out of the All-Star selection process for both teams.
First, here's a look at how the process works. To determine the starters for each league, Little Jimmy goes on the computer and votes for his favorite player 25 times. The more Little Jimmies a player has pulling for him, the more likely it is for him to start the Mid-Summer Classic.
After that, players from both leagues are polled as to who they think deserves to go to the All-Star game. Unlike the fan voting process, players are able to choose a pitcher if they deem him worthy.
Finally, after the first two steps, the manager of each league gets to fill out his roster with his choice of players. Be careful though, because each team must be represented in the All-Star game.
These three steps robbed Willingham of his first All-Star appearance after hitting .261 with 19 home runs and 61 runs batted in for the Twins. Over the first half of the season, Willingham has been the team's most consistent run producer and he still doesn't get rewarded.
This is where I would say that there is no reason for this to happen, but we do know a reason...the AL catchers helped create this mess.
The American League fan voting resulted in Mike Napoli (.228, 12 HR, 30 RBI) being voted into the starting lineup. (Apparently, Little Jimmy doesn't care about average or all-around performance...but I digress.)
The players then stepped into the metaphorical batters box and selected Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles (.247, 12 HR, 44 RBI).
Ron Washington, who was managing the American League had a decision to make: Did he want a third catcher or could he select the outfielder who has carried the Twins offense (but not to the win column) all season long?
Washington opted for the third catcher and chose Joe Mauer (.326, 5 HR, 41 RBI) over A.J. Pierzynski (.285, 16 HR, 49 RBI).
Now, you could talk about the Willingham snub here but the real story is why A.J. Pierzynski was passed over in all three rounds. We get Little Jimmy's thought process, but perhaps A.J.'s reputation got the best of him.
Washington defended his decision by saying he needed a better third catcher and then promptly used him at...first base?
Meanwhile, the guy who should have probably went over Mauer is sitting on his couch scratching his head as to why Washington decided to reward the entire Rangers' roster by selecting them to the All-Star game.
The process has way too many agendas and non-sensical thoughts right now to be nothing other than a joke. It needs to be changed, but is there any way to do that effectively? I'm not sure.
All I know is while Mauer did have better statistics than Napoli or Wieters, it should have been Willingham going to this game over him. Personal agendas should not be used to pick an All-Star team and sometimes that means that somebody is going to get screwed.
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