Andrew McCutchen will be watching the All-Star game from home this year.
Or maybe he won’t watch the game. He’ll take a nap, or he’ll take a walk along the Allegheny River. Or maybe he’ll watch "The Biggest Loser" instead; it’s starts at 8 p.m.
One thing’s for sure though. The Pirates outfielder that has stolen 15 bases and hit 12 home runs so far this season won’t be playing in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix on July 12. He didn’t get invited.
McCutchen might not be baseball’s biggest loser for this summer classic, but he certainly was overlooked. The prototypical All-Star snub.
But don’t blame it all on the fans. Actually, don’t blame any of it on the fans.
It's not the fans fault that they have the right to vote for who should play in the All-Star Game, and its not their fault they are going to vote for the players that they want to see play, and not necessarily the best players. While this year’s All-Star rosters are surprisingly on target, should we be satisfied with a few snubs?
Fan voting will never get it right. It doesn’t in football, it doesn’t in basketball and it doesn’t in baseball. The fact that fans can vote 25 times encourages voting for fan favorites and hometown heroes. If fans all voted for the best players, there would be no need to vote more than once. But don’t blame the fans for clicking on Mitch Moreland’s name 25 times. It’s not their fault that they can.
Don’t blame the players either, or the managers for that matter. They’re too connected to the game to submit a fair ballot. Whether they mean for it to be or not, their relationships with other players and other teams undoubtedly affects whom they cast their votes for. But that’s not their fault either.
If the All-Star game was just for fun and for the fans, then the fans should be able to vote for who they want to see play. But it's not. It counts. Clicks that a die-hard fan makes in June could affect whether or not their team wins the World Series in October. Savvy National League fans certainly helped give Derek Jeter a starting spot this year.
Fans shouldn’t have any affect on the outcome of a game beyond providing a home field advantage. Ironic, since their decisions decide who gets home field advantage in the World Series. Most fans don’t spend hours poring over stat sheets like the media members that bash their picks. It’s not their fault, turn your attention to where it belongs.
Blame baseball. Either make the game count, or let the fans vote. You can’t have both.
Whether the people who make their living covering baseball pick the team or MLB picks the team doesn’t matter, just get the picks right. Baseball doesn’t allow fans to vote players into the Hall of Fame, and shouldn’t do so for the All-Star game. After all, a player's number of All-Star selections is listed on every Hall-of-Famer’s plaque in Cooperstown.
So don’t blame the fans, All-Star snubs. Blame baseball. It’s the reason you’ll be eating cheese puffs and watching reality TV shows next Tuesday night. At least we hope it is.