The All Star Game is Broken

What is my point?

Mat Latos and Joey Votto should be on the All Star team.

Why does it matter?

Latos and Votto are key reasons why their teams are in 1st place in their divisions.  It is an injustice that they are not rewarded for playing so well.

Support

Support this!

Joey Votto 1B

Team:  Cincinnati Reds

Place:  1st Place NL Central

Average:  .318

On base plus slugging (OPS):  1.017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Home runs:  21

RBI:  59

Photo by: Al Behrman

Mat Latos SP

Team:  San Diego Padres

Place: 1st Place NL West

ERA: 2.62

K: 91  BB: 26

K/BB: 3.5/1

Walks plus Hits/Innings pitched (WHIP):  0.96!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Batting average against: 0.193

Photo by:  Chris O’Meara

What are we going to do?

Now it is up to you to tell me how we are going to fix this. Let me hear the ideas.  Remember, I don’t want to hear a bunch of complaining!  The decisions have been made.  We are going to try and figure out the best way to fix this problem in the future.  By the way, I don’t have a single clue how to rectify this system.  I am looking to you for help.  So what do you have?


42 Comments on “The All Star Game is Broken”

  1. Matt says:

    Each league should get to choose one pitcher and one hitter who was “snubbed” by the other team’s manager. So Votto and Latos can play for the AL this year, and Jered Weaver and well, probably someone like Nick Punto – since they so love their mediocre, defensive-minded utility players – can play for the NL.

  2. Karen says:

    I agree that the system is broken if these two players aren’t on the all-star team. I’ve already voted (multiple times) for Joey Votto on the final ballot, and there still is a chance for Mat Latos to make the team if one of the pitchers already chosen pitches on Sunday (which will make him ineligible for the game on Tuesday). I think that the “manager’s choice” should not just be the choice of the manager, but a group of managers–perhaps one from each division–so that the all-star team isn’t weighted with a lot of players from the manager’s team to keep them happy (if that makes any sense). For instance, Charlie Manuel would be assisted by Lou Pinella and Joe Torre in selecting the “manager’s choices,” which would include the pitching staff as well as the reserves. I like the fact that baseball has the only all-star game in which every team has a representative and don’t want to change that part of it, but I do think some tweaking is necessary if players like Joey Votto, Mat Latos (and, in the American League, Keving Youkilis) do not make the team.

  3. Jake says:

    MLB won’t do it, but ideally they should hold the printing, distribution and online availability of the All-Star ballots until the season is a couple of months old. By then, we can put the best candidates on them and there won’t be any “bad” All-Stars.

    Of course, that doesn’t safeguard against Charlie Manuel selecting Omar Infante or the players voting for Matt Capps instead of Billy Wagner, but at least it would make it more likely we will get the best of the best.

    Btw, while I understand Stephen Strasburg doesn’t “deserve” to be on the All-Star team, for the purposes of bringing the biggest possible audience to a game that really doesn’t matter (despite Selig’s/FOX’s ridiculous homefield in the WS rule), he should be included.

    • John says:

      I absolutely agree that nobody should be voting on All-Stars 2 weeks into the season like we were this year. That is just ridiculous.

  4. John says:

    Players are picked for the All-Star team based on perceived merit and popularity, by the fans and by players/managers/staff. Taking voting out of the equation and designating the most deserving according to some statistical measure would be flawed for many reasons and would really go against the whole spirit of the ASG.

    So the only solution to make sure that deserving players like Votto, Latos, Youkilis, Zimmerman, etc. are not left off is for fans and players to become better educated as to how to measure performance.

    I think that will come in time as athletes and announcers gain better understandings of different ways to view the game – already certain statistics are referenced far more often than in years past, nobody in the mainstream ever talked about OPS 10 years ago. Now you hear about advanced stats on ESPN every now and then. It seems that every few months now you hear about a young pitcher using pitch/fx and advanced stats like xFIP to evaluate their own performance and set better goals for themselves.

    So, the real way to solve the problem is just to be better fans, better players, better announcers, and help spread the word.

  5. Well, the first thing that has to happen is that the rosters have to be reorganized. If managers are going to be told to take setup men and utility players, that’s two slots that aren’t going to snubbed candidates.

    Also, if you’re really serious about getting the best rosters, you have to take the fan vote away. Any voting system, no matter how qualified the voters, would have its biases though.

    Finally, the one rep per team rule would have to go. Some years, there aren’t any All-Stars on particular teams.

    However, only the first of these suggestions has a prayer of actually being implemented by MLB. The fan vote (and extra man vote) are publicity gold mines for MLB and there’s no way any of the owners of the bad clubs would allow themselves the bad PR of having no All-Star reps.

  6. David Pinto says:

    The voting should go to a Borda count, with 31 separate voting areas. Fans would vote for the top five players at each position. The fans would also specify a precinct, either their favorite team or MLB. Players get 5 points for first, four points for second, etc. Each precinct tallies votes, and that becomes the ballot for the precinct. Those 31 ballots are tallied in the same way to produce the final result, with the top finisher at each position getting the starting nod and the second finisher getting the reserve role. Top five starters and top five relievers go as well. Managers get to fill out remaining roster spots.

    This gives San Diego the same weight as New York, despite New York having many more fans and voters. While fans may vote for their local favorite first, they are likely to vote for the best player at a position second. Since Borda counts are good at selecting the consensus second choice, we should get a pretty good team out of this.

    You could even throw in a ballot created by players as a 32nd ballot in the final count.

  7. Patrick Nance says:

    MLB is already comfortable letting the Elias Sports Bureau dictate to them how valuable certain free agents are (Type-A, Type-B). Why not allow them to rank every player in the majors by some metric and then define the All-Star roster as the optimal set of those players (including allowances for positions and each team needing a representative)? Of the players on the roster, fans would then be allowed to vote for the starters (including the starting pitcher).

  8. teamlittleguy says:

    I would let the fans select the entire starting lineup, and let the the managers and players in each League choose the player reserves, the manager and coaches by vote.

    It’s quaint that the WS manager from the year before gets to manage the game and pick a lot of the reserves, but I think it leads to controversies like we’re seeing now. By spreading the vote out on the reserves & manager, it would theoretically smooth things out a touch.

    The above is especially true in my opinion since home field advantage is on the line based on the results of this one game. If the game is going to mean that much, the entire battery of players and managers should have the right to have as much say in the roster and the coaches they feel gives their team the best chance to win.

  9. Josh Estes says:

    The following was as of Sunday Evening, July 4 after the All-Star Rosters had been named.

    This time of year always upsets me as a MLB fan. every year i set aside time and create my own all-star teams.

    let me know what you guys think….

    I can and have never understood the voting procedure for the All-Star game. It’s flat out ridiculous every year.

    I still don’t think every team has to be represented. If a team is having a horrible year they should not be rewarded for it. Think back to the Pirates, Royals, Orioles of the past few years. I am not sure my Hometown Astros should have a representative, but we shall see as I try and break it down.

    It’s a popularity contest and WAY too many players are on each team now. I believe they allow 36! How do you play 36 players in a 9 inning game? Oswalt and Pujols didn’t play in 2005, if i remember correctly? That was the year Morgan made it!

    I would vote based on STATS for the 1st half of the season, which is basically April, May and June. Here is my MLB All-Stars. If I said No, that means I believe there are other players in that position or other players having a better statistical year as of the end of June.

    Here are the 2010 Official All-Stars. See my CHANGES.

    American League: Official Roster

    STARTERS: DESERVES SPOT on Team (MY OPINION):
    C JOE MAUER – MIN YES
    1B JUSTIN MORNEAU – MIN YES NOT START – Cabrera should start
    2B ROBINSON CANO – NYY YES
    SS DEREK JETER – NYY YES BUT CLOSE WITH ANDRUS FOR START
    3B EVAN LONGORIA – TB YES NOT STARTER
    OF JOSH HAMILTON – TEX YES
    OF ICHIRO SUZUKI – SEA YES
    OF CARL CRAWFORD – TB YES
    DH VLADAMIR GUERRERO – TEX YES

    PITCHERS:
    CLAY BUCHHOLZ – BOS YES
    TREVOR CAHILL- OAK NO – Andy Pettitte – NYY
    FAUSTO CARMONA – CLE NO – Justin Verlander – DET
    RP NEFTALI FELIZ – TEX YES
    PHIL HUGHES – NYY YES
    CLIFF LEE – SEA YES
    JON LESTER – BOS YES
    DAVID PRICE – TB YES. I SAY START HIM.
    RP MARIANO RIVERA – NYY YES
    CC SABATHIA – NYY YES
    RP JOAKIM SORIA – KC YES
    MATT THORNTON – CWS NO – Carl Pavano – MIN
    RP JOSE VALVERDE – DET YES

    RESERVES:
    C JOHN BUCK – TOR ** NO – Kevin Youkilis – BOS
    C VICTOR MARTINEZ – BOS * YES
    1B MIGUEL CABRERA – DET YES SHOULD START – Morneau reserve
    2B DUSTIN PEDROIA – BOS * YES BUT ON DL
    2B IAN KINSLER – TEX *** MISSED 1ST FEW WEEKS, ABOUT 60-80 AT BATS SHORT OF OTHER 2B – this is a tough one for me
    2B TY WIGGINGTON – BAL NO – Billy Butler – KC
    SS ELVIS ANDRUS – TEX YES
    3B ADRIAN BELTRE – BOS YES SHOULD START – Longoria reserve
    3B ALEX RODRIGUEZ – NYY NO – Michael Young – TEX
    OF JOSE BAUTISTA – TOR NO, HE DOES HAVE 21HR WHICH IS IMPRESSIVE – Nick Swisher – NYY
    OF TORII HUNTER – LAA NO – David DeJesus – KC
    OF VERNON WELLS – TOR NO, HE DOES HAVE 19HR – Paul Kornerko – CWS
    DH DAVID ORTIZ NO – Jose Guillen – KC

    * CHOSEN BY PLAYERS BUT ON DL ** REPLACES V. MARTINEZ
    *** REPLACES D. PEDROIA

    National League: Official Roster

    STARTERS: DESERVES SPOT (MY OPINION)
    C YADIER MOLINA – STL NO
    1B ALBERT PUJOLS – STL YES, SHOULD NOT START
    2B CHASE UTLEY – PHI + NO – see below
    3B HANLEY RAMIREZ – FLA YES
    3B DAVID WRIGHT – NYM YES
    OF RYAN BRAUN – MIL YES
    OF ANDRE ETHIER – LAD YES
    OF JASON HEYWARD – ATL NO

    PITCHERS:
    RP JONATHAN BROXTON – LAD NO- Francisco Cordero
    RP MATT CAPPS – WAS YES
    CHRIS CARPENTER – STL YES
    YOVANI GALLARDO – MIL YES, SHOULD PROBABLY DH FOR NATIONAL LEAGUE. LOL!!!
    ROY HALLADAY – PHI YES
    TIM HUDSON – ATL NO – Matt Latos
    UBALDO JIMENEZ – COL YES. START HIM
    JOSH JOHNSON – FLA YES
    TIM LINCECUM – SF YES
    RP EVAN MEEK – PIT NO – Heath Bell
    ARTHUR RHODES – CIN NO – Mike Pelfrey
    ADAM WAINRIGHT – STL YES
    RP BRIAN WILSON – SF YES

    RESERVES:
    C BRIAN McCANN – ATL YES, SHOULD START
    1B ADRIAN GONZALEZ – SD NO – Joey Votto SHOULD Start
    1B RYAN HOWARD – PHI NO – James Loney
    2B BRANDON PHILLIPS – CIN YES
    2B MARTIN PRADO – ATL + + YES, SHOULD START
    SS JOSE REYES – NYM + + + YES
    SS TROY TULOWITSKI – COL * YES, BUT ON DL
    3B OMAR INFANTE – ATL NO – Gaby Sanchez
    3B SCOTT ROLEN – CIN YES
    OF MICHAEL BOURN – HOU NO – Andrew McCutchen
    OF MARLON BYRD – CHI YES
    OF COREY HART – MIL YES
    OF MATT HOLIDAY – STL YES
    OF CHRIS YOUNG – ARI NO – Adam Dunn

    * CHOSEN BY FANS, ON DL + + REPLACES CHASE UTLEY AS STARTER + + + REPLACES TROY TULOWITSKI

  10. tangotiger says:

    There’s enough talent in MLB to field 4 all-star teams. So, why not have that? One game that features players 26 and under. And another for the 27 and over players.

    Or you can have one mid-season game, and one after the World Series, making sure no players repeat in each game. You can even host that game overseas.

    The two-game system was in existence for a few years decades ago.

  11. Eric Jones says:

    They should be there but I would not even watch the All-Star Game unless the Stros were represented…..Go Michael Bourn!!!

  12. K9 says:

    Seems like it’s the same people year after year, and mostly large market teams. Maybe if you’ve gone 2-3 yrs in a row or 3 of the last 5 then you don’t get to go. Let someone else play.
    Many of the players don’t want to play anyway.
    So if they get voted then they have the option to nominate who goes in their place.
    It needs to not be a popularity contest. But it is and until they change that, I don’t know how ( or if it can ) be fixed.

  13. timmy! says:

    Take away the manager selection, and remove the tie in for World Series home field advantage. I believe that if you’re going to add someone to the roster you need to take someone off. Joey Votto should be in instead of Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman should be in instead of Omar Infante. Both Howard and Infante were manager selections, Howard’s reasoning is obvious. Infante was selected so that Manuel would have the flexibility of a utility player to win the game and hopefully get the NL home field advantage. If there’s not home field advantage on the line Infante would not of been selected as an all star.

    There’s also a case to be made for Billy Wagner and Heath Bell, but to get those guys on you’d have to remove the requirement for every team to have a representative and even then it’s hard to find a spot for them. Besides I like that they do have a representative for every team.

    • timmy! says:

      I forgot to mention that when taking the managers selections away, you could go several different routes. Maybe giving a couple reserve votes to fans or allow them to select pitchers and closers. Media and blogger types could also be given votes for some selections, but I could also see some of those selections being questionable.

  14. James says:

    Remove the rule that every team has to be represented. If a player on a bad team makes it and a player that is more deserving on a better team doesn’t then show the door to the worse team.

  15. mko says:

    Just take the best players by WAR. Respecting their position(s), of course. I think it’s a pretty good stat for overall performance.
    For example the starters:
    AL:
    Francisco Liriano, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez
    NL:
    Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright, Yovani Gallardo

  16. Nick says:

    I’m going to argue that this is not actually a problem. The system is set up fairly well, with fans, players, and the team manager having input on the roster. Well deserving players will inevitably be left off, and some less than deserving ones will be included. If you really need to assign blame you can look at yourself, since you should have logged on and voted Votto more often.

    The real issue is that a game intended as a mid season exhibition has been irrationally infused with major implications for the postseason. The new format is a purely financial decision (attempt to maintain/raise television ratings) by a greedy owner/commissioner who has done everything he can to turn the national pastime into a bottom line business opportunity.

  17. James Newcomb says:

    For starters – limit fan voting to just the starters. I see no reason why we should determine who gets the last spot. It’s a popularity contest and yes this is for the fans…but clearly we don’t always get it right and we aren’t likely to take into consideration the existing team and its potential needs when deciding that spot… Given that the winner does impact WS home field advantage I don’t believe the previous WS managers should have autonomy when selecting the remaining players for their perspective teams. They get to manage the team – that should be enough. I believe all of the managers of the 1st place teams at the break, along with the All Star manager, should have equal votes on who should fill out the remaining rosters. In that manner any home team favoritism or ridiculous Omar Infate inclussions would be eiliminated. No way the Latos and Vottos of the league don’t get selected under this change…

  18. KeJo says:

    easy fix MoBerg.
    drop the 1 player per team requirement.
    but if that’s off limits you can still fix it by dropping the home field advantage in world series.
    That bad decision has birthed the ripple effects that result in Infante going in on the same team that Latos and Votto got snubbed. The commissioner sees trees and no forest.
    No surprise though, this is the same league that competes on an uneven playing field with team’s payroll range from $25 million to $200 million.
    The same league that has a permanent substitute hit for the pitcher in half of it’s games, and the same league that embraced steroids until we actually had cartoon characters playing the game.

  19. Carson says:

    It’s broken. It’s always been broken. And honestly, the controversy over selections among fans who are “in the know” is one of the only reasons the exhibition game holds real appeal for more-than-casual fans.

    That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, though. There are glaring oversights (Votto), insipid fan choices based on name value alone and managerial selections that appear nothing short of crazy (Buck, Infante).

    I think the best way to reduce those blunders is to (1) do away with the World Series home field implications, which may lead managers to make choices designed to “round out” a lineup instead of picking the guys who are having outstanding seasons, as noted above.

    (2) delaying ballot printing and distribution by at least a month or two into the season, as mentioned by others.

    (3) reducing the number of manager picks and allowing a larger fan-based “run-off” between deserving players who didn’t make the cut (it seems like people wake up to the Vottos of the world *after* the snubs). Yeah, that creates a “who makes the list” controversy, too, but it still seems like an improvement.

    The guaranteed representative rule does risk watering down lineups a little bit (Mark Redmond of the Royals a few years back, for instance), but I’m willing to pay that price to keep fans of all teams engaged/interested in the game.

  20. Rich Mahogany says:

    There’s no way to fix the ASG except to change it back to a meaningless exhibition game.

    If you do away with the “one player per team” requirement, you’ll just end up with a few more well-known players (probably Yankees or Red Sox) at the expense of deserving players on smaller-market teams. Fans of those teams may not watch the ASG if none of their players is represented.

    You can never ensure that fans vote for the right players. Most fans don’t know who Joey Votto is because he plays for the Reds and hasn’t gotten into a fight with his manager, his teammates, or ARod. I consider myself an educated fan but I didn’t know Votto was playing so well until last week. Besides, very few fans are going to base their ASG votes on anything more than team loyalty, let alone research of every candidate. The only way you can fix this problem is to give the ASG vote to a team of sabremetricians. Thus, we can’t fix this problem.

    Managers pick pitchers, and have to make all kinds of strange choices based on who’s available and wants to pitch. Even MLB knows that you can’t give this choice to the fans. So there’s no fix here either – you just have to hope that the managers who went to the World Series in the previous year know enough about baseball to pick the best available pitchers.

    Plain and simple, the ASG is based on a silly and flawed selection process that works fine for an exhibition game (the fans get to see the players they want to see) but works terribly for a game that decides home field advantage in the World Series. Count me among the many fans who think the ASG should mean nothing.

  21. Brade says:

    Going along with some of the ideas already stated, the quick fix would seem to be:

    1) delay the start of the voting until late May

    2) on the official ballot, give maybe 2 or 3 stats per player showing where they rank at the time. this would be easier to keep up-to-date on the website, and not so much the printed ballots. but there you go.

    I do feel that fan voting needs to stay, as well as one player per team. those were not the cause of the problem this year, it seems (other than molina beating mccann–wtf???). it was basically a manager/player voting problem. pujols was probably going to beat votto no matter what in fan voting, but maybe a high vote count for votto would have sent a message…

    Lastly, the ASG needs to go back to strictly an exhibition game.

  22. lisa gray says:

    i do NOT want to remove the – every team sends a player – requirement. if we don’t have that, it will very quickly be almost all players from big east coast city teams and name recognition guys, even if they have a lousy season.

    agree that it is insane to start fan voting 2 weeks into the season. internet voting should start like june 1.

    and managers have been picking “their guys” over more deserving players for years

    there will always be weird and undeserving selections (like infante) and guys who are inexplicably left off (like votto) and guys who used to be great but aren’t any more, but the crowd still wants to see them – there is no pleasing everyone.

    I know there are a lot of guys who want each player picked based on WAR/WARP, but really this is silly for what is an exhibition game for the FANS. and the FANS should pick the players they want to see, regardless of the stupidity of the selections.

    i wish we could get rid of the kindergarten/t-ball thingy of EVER body gets to play/gets a turn and the managers would just play the 9 best guys on the roster and try to win, but hey, times change and attitudes change and teams do NOT want their hellaciously expensive players gettting tired/hurt and fans REALLY do not want to watch 7+ innings of throwaway “all-stars” like lance carter/mike williams/ed sprague/omar infante who are essentially fungible.

    the fact is that this kindergarten rule really DOES make the ASG purely exhibition and winning almost purely luck. which is why it should not be tied to the WS Home Field Advantage (which should go back to swapping every other year as one can hardly compare W/L records as interleague play completely screws up the fairness)

  23. DyHrdMET says:

    You’re right that the All Star Game is broken. I think you left out a few players from your example, but no matter since you got your point across (and it seems like this happens every year). I’ll give a few ideas, both big and small, on how to fix this (some seem contradictory to each other):

    The fans today choose the starters, and in a way, influence the reserves (but position players only). The fans vote like it’s a popularity contest rather than voting for the most deserving player at each position. They vote very early, and often. First, I’d let fans vote for pitchers. I don’t know how many pitchers are taken for the game, say 11 or 12, and vote for 9 starters and 4 relievers. Second, start the voting later in the season. With online voting widely available in many forms, voting doesn’t need to start in late April just a few weeks into the season like it did 20 years ago when fans had to go to the games to vote. The internet changed that whole model. April is too early to figure out if a player is great. Start voting on Memorial Day. Third, get rid of the rule where every team should be included. It dilutes the product on the field.

    Fourth and biggest, I’d take it out of the fans’ hands and give the vote to the sports writers and baseball broadcasters. It kills the marketing of the ASG, so I see it as somewhat controversial, but give it to the people most capable of determining who deserves to be an All Star. In the end, it will make for a better game, one worthy of letting the winner determine who’s league has home field in the World Series (and if you don’t go with change #4, then remove the implications of winning). Maybe we can let the fans have a say to influence tiebreakers (but see also changes #1 and 3). I’ll go a step further and say that the new class of voters also selects the manager and maybe even coaches (still mostly being other managers).

  24. Rick says:

    Here’s my 4 point plan.

    #1: Fixed rosters. 3 players at each IF position (including catcher), 6 OF, 1 DH (best hitter, any position), 1 UT, 7 SP, 5 RP. Done. That’s a 35 man roster. Everybody’s happy. Now we know what we’re aiming for — recognizing the best players at each position. If you believe Votto is the 4th best 1B or the best of the rest (DH) then fine, he didn’t get snubbed by Omar Infane at least.

    #2: Fully transparent voting process. Fans vote for starting position players (not the UT), 3 SP, 1 RP. The starters are announced 10 days before the ASG. Then, over a 3-day period, MLB players & coaches vote for the backups, 2 SP, 2 RP. The manager of the team then selects the 3rd position players, the UT, and the remaining pitchers. Then the final team is announced BY MLB and we all know who picked whom.

    #3: Shorter voting period. Voting after 30 games is ridiculous. This made sense 30 years ago when the only way to vote was to attend a game and you needed a lot of time to balance things out with home/away games. But this is the 21st century. The majority of votes come online. We don’t need 10 weeks of voting. The fan vote now opens on a Tuesday near June 1 and goes through 3 Sundays. That’s enough time for everybody to have a home stand but starts late enough for players to actually establish themselves.

    #4: Better information about the players. John really nailed this point above. AVG/HR/RBI/SB? Wins, saves and ERA? Sure, those things are important to fans broadly and should be shared. But let’s, at minimum, include OPS and WHIP. Let’s have MLB put on a show each Sunday of the voting to annoucne the leaders and talk some advanced stats. Talk WAR, UZR, or what-have-you. Bring on analysts as well as ex-players. Provide highlights from prior games. Give something for the fledgling fans to get engaged with.

    Those changes would make the ASG a much better experience from my perspective.

  25. ibrosey says:

    I think there’s a way to satisfy everything the fans, the media and MLB want the game to be. Let the fans elect the starting 10 for each league. Yes, I do hate the DH, but in an All-Star game, you absolutely shouldn’t leave out an entire position. Then stock each roster with the leaders, or the next remaining leaders after eliminating the starters, at your 8 or 10 roto-stat categories. Then let the managers figure out how they want to structure the remainder of each team, and have the players, or the coaches, or the managers or the general managers – or all of them, for that matter – decide who those remaining players will be. Enen keep a final slot for this internet silliness if Selig insists. This would likely capture everyone who belongs.

    Here’s another twist. Mandate the starters must play 5 innings. Let’s see an all star All-Star game.

  26. Andy Dupuis says:

    Why not just let the stats choose the two top players for every position. Pitchers excluded of course due to the various factors involved.

    Now, of course the big question is which stats. You could always let the press, the players and the teams pick them, but whatever flavor one prefers I think it’s hard to deny that the expanded stats are here, many teams use them and they just might be on to something by doing so.

    As for those players that seem to be always doing something great, yet chart poorly, those guys who just seem to “have it”, well, let the manager pick six or eight of those guys and limit him to no more than one from his own team.

    Perfect? No, but it probably would have left Swisher home and got Youk a plane ticket….

  27. John McGee says:

    I agree that the process is broken. Any time you allow fans to vote it will turn into a popularity contest, and when teams are encouraging fans to vote for their players by providing various incentives, there’s no way you can get a fair vote. If MLB wants to improve this, they will have to find a way to prevent ballot box stuffing (allow each person only one vote, track by email address?) and to delay the voting until the season is a little further along and you can accurately gauge a player’s performance.

  28. Mikie says:

    I wouldn’t say the ASG is “broken”, it just is what it is. It’s an exhibition game and fans get to vote, so it’s no surprise that there are popularity contest winners. I think that effect is more than overcome by the players choosing the position substitutes, I’d be more proud of the peer recognition than being elected because my name was splashed on Sportscenter more often than some other guy just because I played in a large East coast city and he didn’t.

    The roster is huge, you figure there are roughly 16 x 25 = 400 players in the NL and 14 x 25 = 350 in the AL, that’s 700. Two rosters of 34 is 68 players, nearly 10% of those eligible, and effectively quite a bit more than that if you consider starters are really the only guys with a chance to make it.

    My only pick at the current system is the “It counts”, as in determining home league for the WS. Selig has been good for the g ame during his tenure, but this was a knee-jerk mistake IMO. So far, it hasn’t mattered – the AL has won all 7 games since, yet the WS winners have been 4 AL and 3 NL teams.

  29. Ashitaka says:

    -> Step 1: Do not let the fans vote. By and large, fans are incredibly biased and stupid. The fact that Placido Polanco was almost the starting 3B in the NL despite what David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman (heck, throw Casey McGehee into that as well) have done is proof positive of that. Fan voting is simply a popularity contest, nothing more, and completely ruins it. It’s not the All-Star game if the best players aren’t playing in it. It’s even worse that you can cast essentially an unlimited number of votes, so larger fanbases can easily stuff the ballot boxes (I guarantee you that Phillies Phans were the only ones voting for Polanco).
    -> Step 2: Do not let the managers vote. Favoritism is, again, a huge problem. There is pressure to take your own guys, and it ruins it. Ryan Howard being taken instead of Votto is an absolute travesty of unimaginable proportions. Then there’s the Omar Infante debacle. Evan Meek and Arther Rhodes, two middle-relievers, were selected instead of Billy Wagner and Heath Bell, two closers having incredible years. Jered Weaver in the AL getting snubbed for Phil Hughes AND Andy Pettitte (two Yankees, of course)…I could go on forever. Managers are biased and should not be allowed to pick. Period.
    -> Step 3: Remove the “Every team must be represented” rule. The best players MUST play, and some inevitably get snubbed due to undeserving players from other teams taking their spots for the sake of other team’s having a representative. Sadly, the Astros are part of the problem this year; Michael Bourn has NOT put up All-Star numbers, but is a member of the team simply because each team must have a representative.
    -> Step 4: Players may not vote for their teammates. This should be an obvious one; again, it’s an issue about integrity.
    -> Step 5: Let the BBWAA do most of the voting. Sure, they’re not perfect on the HoF voting but they generally get that right, and they certainly would do a better job selecting a roster than Charlie Manuel. Ugh that man…UGH.

    The All-Star Game is more than broken, it’s an out-and-out joke. No one, and I mean NO ONE I know still gives a care about it. Absolute joke, on the level of the ridiculous Gold Glove award that’s annually given out to the best hitter at each position. The HR Derby is basically two hours of batting practice from guys who the fans don’t select (and usually not the top-tier power hitters since they chicken out due to the ridiculous “curse”) AND you have to listen to Chris Berman, the worst announcer in history and his ridiculous, annoying “backbackbackbackback BAAAAAA BAAAAAA BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!” calls during the whole thing…and it STILL gets more viewers than the AS Game does. What does that tell you? No one cares anymore, and no one will until the AS Game voting gets less crooked and ridiculous than Washington.

  30. Mike T says:

    Since most people vote online now, rather than using those ballpark 1970s-style IBM computer cards, the voting shouldn’t even begin until June 1st. 30-35 days of voting is long enough.

    Selig needs to stop tweaking the rules for voting and the selection process. It’s an EXHIBITION GAME! Lamest thing he instituted was the “this time it counts” policy, which supposedly was pushed by Fox in order to increase TV ratings. Can you imagine the Pro Bowl deciding where the Super Bowl will be played?

    Go back to the old format – with the exception that perhaps not every club gets to have an All-Star representative. Not everyone gets to have a sixth-place ribbon in sports, so why should baseball be any different? If the lack of personnel numbers means that rosters are depleted in an extra-inning game, oh well! Let A-Rod throw an inning since he was curious earlier in the season about climbing atop the pitcher’s mound.

  31. Matthew Brown says:

    Mo,

    I know you know the news. Jeff Bagwell is the new hitting coach of the Astros (replacing Sean Berry).

    What are your thoughts?

  32. Solange says:

    Many posters have called for removing the fans, and a few have referred to the fans using terms like “stupid”.

    I agree that fan voting generally turns things into a popularity contest, and I’m looking at your vote totals this year Ken Griffey Jr!

    I don’t think those fans are dummies though, I suspect they are kids!

    They are young, fairly unsophisticated about the game and totally besotted homers helplessly and hopelessly devoted to the real or imagined greatness of their team and their favorite players. They are tomorrows owners, executives, agents, players, writers and FANS!

    Yeah, it’s an All Star Game, and as we grow in knowledge we really want to see the best knock it out head to head, but let’s all remember the kids under their blanket with a radio pulling and dreaming for that one guy they just believe to be an All Star. That was us once, and now it’s them. Maybe we can offer a “Fan Favorite” type thing, you know, to throw them a bone or something….

  33. Anthony says:

    Hey Morgan great site. I met you at pizza the other day wanted to see what you were up to after your baseball days. Found this blog and it’s pretty sweet. It’s good to have some insight from an athlete who really knows their sport. Really interesting stuff. You aren’t just a meathead who knows nothing about their own sport they played in. Keep up the good work.

  34. Ryan says:

    Next years breakout pitcher will be Travis Wood of Cincinatti


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