Why Has MLB All-Star Voting Started Already?

Jacob NitzbergAnalyst IApril 22, 2009

Last time I checked, the calendar still said April.  Yet, on the homepage of my beloved Chicago Cubs today, there it was, a story telling me to vote my favorite Cubs into the All-Star Game—in July!

The most games that any MLB team has played so far this year is 15.  That's not even one-tenth of the season.  The Major League leader in HR has seven, and RBI top out at 18.  How can someone be expected to vote for All-Stars with such a small sample size of statistics?

While trying to think of any sort of rationalization for this, I came up empty. Yes, you can vote a maximum of 25 times, but it takes approximately 15 seconds to register and another 30 to vote.  And, once you're done, it remembers your selections, so you could vote 25 times in about five minutes.  So that isn't it.

By starting voting in April, with no real statistics for 2009 to go off of, it simply encourages voting for your favorite players or the biggest names.  Whichever team's fans get out the most votes will get players named to start the game, putting the bigger markets at an advantage. 

At this point in the season, who do you think will have more votes?  Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees (.235 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBI) or Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles (.389 BA, 2 HR, ML leading 18 RBI)?  I'd say it's probably a dead heat.

An example that comes to mind is 2001, when Ichiro's migration to the U.S. caused a large influx of Japanese voters, leading to four Mariners starting for the AL. Not to take anything away from those players, but my guess is that there were more deserving players.

The same thing happens every year, so maybe there is no way to fix it when the fans are allowed to vote.  But the fans need to be involved, so is there any plausible solution? 

I'm not sure, but a good start would be waiting until some teams get to play more than one series at home before letting fans vote for their All-Stars.