Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, July 3, 2011

All Star Process - The Flaws

Matt Kemp will represent the Dodgers in his first All Star appearance

Call me jaded if you will, but I really dislike the voting process for the MLB All Star game.  If I recall correctly, Matt Kemp was one of the five players placed on the extra ballot two years ago when the second vote for the extra player was made.  Though the Phillies already had a number of starters voted in (three), Charlie Manuel then proceeded to select another 2 or 3 Phillie substitutes.  The Philladelphia fans then voted in another an additional Phillie (can’t remember if it was Werth or Victorino) to make the All Star team about 19 Phillies and one representative from each other team.

Ethier gets a second chance to make the All Start team
Amongst those that got the shaft were Matt Kemp and Giant rookie Pablo Sandoval who was hitting about .330 at the time.
As much as I’d like to see Ethier make the team as the final player voted on this year, with Shane Victorino as one of the 5 players on the ballot, I expect the Phillies fans to vote him on with a landslide victory due to their constant 24/7 voting.
I understand MLB’s stance with the voting.  They want the All Star game to be a “fans” game and over the many years of tradition that have been established it is safe to say that they have accomplished that.  But I have issues with the embraced ballot box stuffing and the overall popularity contest that the game has become.
To illustrate how far that mentality has gone, in 2010, the Marlins were offering a promotion in which free tickets were being offered in exchange for submitting 200 All Star ballots containing votes for Marlins in all 8 positions.

Former Dodger property, Werth and Victorino,
 recipients of past Philadelphia ballot box stuffing

There was a time that the Commissioner of baseball took the all star selections away from the fans.  In 1957, Cincinnati Reds fans stuffed the ballot box to elect 5 Cincinnati starters to the game.  Such household names as Don Hoak, Ed Bailey, Roy McMillan and  Johnny Temple were elected to the starting lineup.   Gus Bell and George Crowe were also voted in but the Commissioner stepped in and placed Willie Mays and Stan Musial in the starting lineup in their place.   As a result, Commissioner Ford Frick removed the vote from the fans.  It wasn’t until 1969 that fans were allowed to select the starting lineups via ballot for the game again.
Every year there are a few questionable selections, but it has never been seen as egregious as the 1957 game.  Now that the game has more meaning with home field advantage for the World Series on the line.  I could see the justification in removing the ballot from the fans.


The first batch of Dodger Fan stories submitted to ESPN.com are out.  Very interesting reading.

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