It may not coincide with some ridiculous campaign commercials dished out by rich politicians, but the 2014 MLB All-Star vote has been entertaining nonetheless.
Like any formal political vote, the MLB's deadline is rapidly approaching, and each and every tally will count. Some positions are such toss-ups at this juncture that it's hard to imagine who comes out on top.
While the old-school method of penciling in votes in between grabs for peanuts at the ballpark has since expired, fans can still tally votes online and influence the outcome.
As days bleed into hours before the deadline, intrigue for the Midsummer Classic continues to mount.
MLB All-Star Game Voting Info
Deadline: July 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Where to Vote: MLB.com
American League All-Star Starting Lineup Prediction
|Catcher||Derek Norris (Athletics)|
|First Base||Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)|
|Second Base||Robinson Cano (Mariners)|
|Shortstop||Derek Jeter (Yankees)|
|Third Base||Josh Donaldson (Athletics)|
|Outfield||Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)|
|Outfield||Mike Trout (Angels)|
|Outfield||Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays)|
|Designated Hitter||Nelson Cruz (Orioles)|
National League All-Star Starting Lineup Predictions
|Catcher||Yadier Molina (Cardinals)|
|First Base||Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)|
|Second Base||Chase Utley (Phillies)|
|Shortstop||Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)|
|Third Base||David Wright (Mets)|
|Outfield||Yasiel Puig (Dodgers)|
|Outfield||Andrew McCutchen (Pirates)|
|Outfield||Carlos Gomez (Brewers)|
The recently-turned-40 Derek Jeter is the focal point of the 2014 iteration of the Midsummer Class, as he should be, this being his last season and all. Last time anybody counted the votes, he was winning his position in the American League by a landslide.
"You know me -- I don't think about that before it happens," Jeter said on Monday, via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "I learned that a long time ago. I'll wait to see what happens."
Hoch explained why Jeter never pays attention to the vote until the final tally comes in:
Jeter's reluctance to discuss his All-Star candidacy is rooted in the summer of 1999, when Nomar Garciaparra of the Red Sox benefited from frenzied online voting to overcome a deficit of more than 30,000 votes, passing both Jeter and the Indians' Omar Vizquel in the final week.
"Everyone was like, 'Oh, you're leading,'" Jeter recalled. "Then Garciaparra got like 100,000, 200,000 votes the last day, something like that. After that, I said, 'I'll just wait.'"
See? The online vote does matter, as long as fans are willing to sit around and click their life away for it.
But, in all seriousness, Jeter is not the most deserving shortstop at this juncture, especially when perusing his numbers and finding that he has just two home runs and 19 RBI on the year. But, from a historical standpoint, Jeter deserves one final sendoff similar to those received by Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera and other legends.
The top positional battle resides in the National League, which is quite the coincidence considering everything outside of third base is well in hand.
Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets' David Wright are fighting over the spot there, with both sides of the argument in possession of solid points.
Ramirez has been better statistics-wise, although not by a large margin:
|Aramis Ramirez vs. David Wright|
|ESPN, updated 6/30 at 9 p.m. ET|
That said, the Brewers star—a team that has a representative in the top five at every position—may win out by default, as Wright continues to battle a shoulder issue, as noted by ESPN's Adam Rubin:
The battle is one to keep an eye on, although the process itself is not without its issues.
For example, Matt Wieters leads the way at the AL catcher spot, but underwent Tommy John surgery. Players such as Derek Norris (.304 average, 8 HR, 35 RBI) and Brian McCann (.221 average, 9 HR, 36 RBI) are much more deserving at this point taking into account the fact they have actually been on the field as of late.
Alas, these are the woes of a system that allows fan votes to play such an integral role in the process. It's great for fans, outside of the hardcore crowd that will be disappointed to see a name like Yadier Molina stealing a spot from the superior Jonathan Lucroy.
No matter who wins each spot, fans worldwide are sure to tune in once again. That's what happens when an All Star game both involves fans and means something, making the Midsummer Classic the best event of its kind.