You don’t have to shed too bright of a light on the All-Star fan voting process to realize that it’s a pretty flawed system. Each fan is allowed to vote up to 25 times, on each of their email accounts, and the e-mail accounts of their mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, son, and daughter.
Sorry, but it needed to be said—the MLB allows Internet ballot-box stuffing.
Of course, many will make the initial argument that fans should not be able to decide the All-Stars if the All-Star Game decides World Series home-field advantage. But it is the fans’ game.
In the end, without the fans, there wouldn’t be any stars. So they should continue to be allowed to vote (only ONCE!) for whomever they choose.
This year, ballot-stuffing or not, they pretty much voted the right players in.
The top-voted in the National League is a lineup of all players who deserve the accolades. Anyone claiming a “snub” would have difficulty adequately explaining who should have been replaced for the starting nod.
Pujols, Philadelphia’s Chase Utley, and Florida’s Hanley Ramirez are all far and away the top performers at their positions. New York’s David Wright is an established player with a better average than Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman.
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez, and New York’s Carlos Beltran have each posted huge numbers, Ibanez and Beltran even despite injuries.
The American League, although a bit more dicey, was also a success overall. New York’s Derek Jeter has not had his best year, and he has not had the best half-season among AL shortstops.
However, he's had a pretty good year, he’s a superstar, and he’s a class act. Combine one of the best on-base percentages of all leadoff hitters, a .321 average, 10 homers, 37 RBI, 56 runs, 17 steals, and the respect of the nation, and you’ve got an All-Star.
Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett, Toronto’s Marco Scutaro, and Texas’ Elvis Andrus will have their time when Jeter is done.
After another slow start, New York’s Mark Teixeira rallied into May and June and deservingly eked out a starting bid over Boston’s Kevin Youkilis.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Minnesota slugger Justin Morneau’s numbers trump those of Tex and Youk. Blame that on the passion or population of New York and Boston.
Regardless, Teixeira’s numbers are worthy of the start, and all three fittingly made the team.
Reigning Red Sox AL MVP Dustin Pedroia made the cut over Texas’ Ian Kinsler, but because of his wife’s complications with pregnancy, Pedroia will not make the game.
In comes Aaron Hill, Toronto’s first-time All-Star who has had an incredible season. It’s arguable that Kinsler and Hill deserved first place over Pedroia, but the voting was in no way deplorable. It is deplorable that Kinsler didn’t make the team at all.
At third, true justice prevails. Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria posted the best numbers and played the best third base all year, and he was rewarded by the fans.
Longoria receiving more votes than A-Rod is a sign of hope for the eventual culmination of “popularity contest” voting. A-Rod began the year with a steroid controversy, he had a late start after post-surgery rehab, and he never caught up to Longoria. Fans made the right move here.
And in the outfield, two out of three ain’t bad. Boston’s Jason Bay and Seattle’s Ichiro have had great seasons, Bay with 72 RBI and Ichiro with a .360 average.
However, Texas’ Josh Hamilton, with a .243 average and six homers after 152 at-bats, was one of the worst starting selections ever.
Maybe the popularity contest thing isn’t over yet. Where’s the L.A. love for Torii Hunter? As the headline suggests, for the most part, fans got it right.
Wrap it up with an inhuman Joe Mauer (Twins) and Cardinal Yadier Molina at the catcher positions, both deserving picks.
Detroit’s Brandon Inge (over Kinsler and LA’s Chone Figgins) and Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino (over San Fran’s Pablo Sandoval and Arizona’s Mark Reynolds) won the wretched “Final Vote.”
Overall, the grade for the fan vote is a B-, because hometown favoritism and bias didn’t fully surmount worthiness, and A-Rod and Manny Ramirez will deservingly be absent.