Should baseball fans be permitted to field the starters for the All-Star Game?
We live in a democratic society, where the people have the right to vote for their leaders and All-Stars.
And while I have no intentions on changing the American political system, I would like to recommend altering the methods in which players are selected to the Midsummer Classic.
The first step would be taking away voting privileges from fans. Too often do the fans select high-profile players who are having poor seasons, instead of voting in players who are more deserving of the honor.
And these days, with the winning league of the All-Star game receiving home-field advantage during the World Series, it's become even more important to field the best teams, as opposed to the best names.
Derek Jeter sits four hits shy of 3,000 all-time, entering play on Wednesday.
There's no question that shortstop Derek Jeter is a future Hall of Famer. He's been cemented in the 3,000-hit club. He's got one World Series ring for each finger on his right hand. And he's been selected to his 12th All-Star game (seventh start).
But is he deserving of this selection? Jeter is in the midst of his worst offensive season of his career. He's batting a career-low .257 with just two home runs.
Of course, he has a little home-field advantage of his own, playing for the New York Yankees. So despite other shortstops having better seasons, Jeter—who is one of the game's all-time jewels—is voted to start.
Asdrubal Cabrera is in the middle of a career-year. But he's not starting in the All-Star Game.
When it comes to All-Star selections, there are bound to be players missing. The term "snub" comes to mind.
But when the voting is left in the hands of the fans, the snubs seem to be more prevalent.
For instance, with Derek Jeter winning the popularity contest, he is the American League's starting shortstop. Yet, Asdrubal Cabrera is having an incredible career-year in Cleveland, but he'll be on the bench as a reserve (with his 14 home runs and .292 batting average).
Sure, Jeter has the flashier name, but Cabrera has the flashier numbers. Furthermore, since Cabrera has to be relegated to a bench role, a guy like Jhonny Peralta isn't even on the team.
Peralta is batting .314 with 14 home runs—on pace to have his best season in years. But he doesn't get to be on the All-Star team.
Jeter has since withdrawn from the All-Star game, making Cabrera the starting shortstop for the American League. Peralta has been named as Jeter's replacement on the roster.
Ron Washington will be managing his first All-Star Game in 2011
With the outcome of the All-Star games now having an effect on the World Series, shouldn't the men who will potentially play in the Fall Classic make the decisions as to who should be an All-Star?
Honestly, would Ron Washington—manager of the American League squad—have chosen Derek Jeter as his starting shortstop, knowing first-hand the necessity of having home-field advantage? Remember, Washington's Rangers lost to the Giants in last year's World Series, after the National League had won that season's All-Star game.
So then, perhaps the entire selection of All-Stars should lie in the hands of the players and managers. They already choose a good portion of the All-Stars. So why not allow them to choose all 66 members?
MLB may fear that fans would lose significant interest in the game without their input, but I argue that fans will still be drawn to the aura that surrounds the Midsummer Classic and the tremendous talent that is involved.
The Baseball Writers Association of America was formed in the early part of the 20th century. This organization of baseball journalists and writers is responsible for electing players to the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as awarding players with postseason awards (MVP, Cy Young, etc).
So if these writers are armed with the task of giving players the ultimate honor of being enshrined in Cooperstown, why not give them a say as to who participates in the All-Star game?
Josh Hamilton may be the reigning American League MVP. But that was last year.
In 2011, his numbers do not resemble someone who should be starting in the All-Star game.
He has 10 home runs on the year so far, which is not too shabby indeed. But meanwhile, fellow outfielder Carlos Quentin is ninth in the league with 17 long balls and is tied for sixth in extra-base hits.
In fact, Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished fourth in outfield voting, is having a better year than Hamilton. Ellsbury is third in the league in hits, tied for third in doubles (along with Quentin) and fourth in runs scored. He also leads the league in stolen bases and triples.
Meanwhile, Hamilton does not appear in the top 10 in any major offensive category. So out of these three outfielders, Hamilton definitely does not warrant a start in the All-Star game, in my opinion.