The All Star Game has taken its fair share of hits over the last 10 years. Whether it's ending in a tie or being the deciding factor for home field advantage in the World Series, the ASG has seen its better days.
But, it has long suffered from a problem that is almost unbearable. Baseball has always been a sport that rewards statistical greatness, yet that isn't the case during ASG voting.
People blindly vote for players that are popular, established, and many times, not deserving of the honor. But there is a quick and easy fix to this problem and teach fans a lesson: discontinue fan voting.
This move wouldn't be unprecedented. Back in 1957, when Cincinnati Reds fans voted a starter to every position other that first base, commissioner Ford Frick booted two Reds out of the lineup, and then yanked voting privileges away from the fans.
While the situation isn't nearly as bad in 2009, I for one am sick of seeing the American League starting lineup reduced to a Yankees/Red Sox mash up every year. It may not seem fair to point out team pride as a problem, but taking the fans out of the equation would eliminate the need for silly rules like having every team represented.
Taking the option of voting away from fans and giving it to players and managers for a five-year span wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, and if the end result is a much more competitive ASG, then it's a win-win for everyone.
It wouldn't be fair to finish this article without mentioning that Major League Baseball has a major hand in this problem. The constant bombardment of "vote your (insert favorite team here) into the All Star Game" on team web sites and around ballparks only helps fuel the ugly machine that keeps deserving players out of the ASG.
Not to mention that any one person can vote up to 25 times online, or that voting starts so early that it is near impossible to gauge which players deserve to go.
These rules just give teams with the biggest fan bases an obvious advantage in getting players to the ASG and doesn't do anything to help baseball's Midsummer Classic.
I doubt that MLB will do anything to solve this problem anytime in the near future, and it really is a shame. I can't speak for other people, but I would rather see players from smaller market teams make it rather than watching players like Alfonso Soriano jump around in the outfield and swing at sliders in the dirt.
So, Major League Baseball, I implore you to take voting away from the fans for at least a few years. Voting for the All Star Game isn't a right, but a privilege...and it should be treated like one.