Voting the All Star Game: A PR Contest
By Stuart Jones
Among National League shortstops, Brandon Crawford finished 2nd in the NL in voting. He’s second to last in wOBA in the same group at .263. Pablo Sandoval, who doesn’t qualify for batting stats, would be 2nd in wOBA if we’re looking at NL 3B with more than 160 PA at .355, far behind David Wright (.418) who also has an element of speed to him, while also having an unconscious start to the year with the stick. I’m having a hard time finding an offensive metric Buster Posey is leading amongst NL catchers, however his case I believe is a little different than the previous guys mentioned (see: heartstrings).
This process of giving fans the chance to stuff the ballots and trusting them to choose the best 8 (or 9 for the AL) this year didn’t go horribly, but the process did look like it was vulnerable to very strong PR movements with responsive fanbases. The Final Vote is trusting fans to choose the most All Staryest of the five provided in their respective leagues. Gripe all you want over who was chosen for the position players, but honestly, most NL fanbases have no one to blame but themselves for their players not showing up in the Final Vote (AL Final Vote players are all pitchers), or on the starting rosters themselves. Keep in mind the players also had a vote over who they wanted to see in there, so if your player didn’t make it, the finger pointing can go multiple ways. Also let’s remember injuries happen and the baseball season can be a long one that brings many bruises, so injury replacements are all but inevitable, so maybe your favorite player gets in (and on the flip side, maybe you stay angry).
Let’s get to the matter at hand though with what I believe: Letting the fans stuff the boxes 25 at a time from any e-mail address is dumb. I understand the desire to create a connection to the game with the fans, but the MLB needs to try and level the playing field, if you will. Perhaps there is a way technology can detect only letting one computer/mobile device vote once (I know, it’s a radical thought), and I have no solution to the paper ballot, because there’s something about paper people are still very much attached to, but I’d like to see that phased out. Ideally, I would like this left up to people in baseball, or maybe even people that write about baseball on a daily basis, but based off of HOF discussions, I’m not sure I trust all of them to do the reasonable thing… but I give them credit they probably could do better than the few selections that seem out of place.