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AL Central: Don't leave it to the fans
If I were named baseball commissioner, there is one order of business that I'd attend to on my very first day, before breakfast, before my morning cup of coffee, before I even rolled out of bed:
I would scrap fan voting for the All-Star game.
This is America, land of democracy, and undoubtedly multiple Founding Fathers just rolled around in their graves despite having no clue who Magglio Ordoñez is, what an All-Star Game is or what a baseball looks like. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for enfranchising people when it comes to political elections, but for votes that are really important -- like baseball All-Star games -- we need a new system.
If all the All-Star game is intended to be is an opportunity for fans to see their favorite players on the field together, then I suppose the current balloting system works. But if we truly wanted to reward on-field performance, with the year's best players, then the fans are clueless.
Deserving players have always been left out of the starting lineup for more popular names -- usually for players who don pinstripes or red socks everyday -- and this year's voting for the American League starters is no exception. The updated vote tallies are due out early this evening, and we can only hope a few errors have been corrected.
Why this tragedy means so much to the Fungoes is that two AL Central players (and two Tigers, even) are the most blatant victims. Ordoñez is leading the league in average (.367), doubles (30), extra-base hits (43) and OPS (1.108) and ranks second in RBIs (56) and on-base percentage (.439), yet if the voting were to end today, he wouldn't be an All-Star starter. He's currently fifth in voting (394,892) and, though he keeps good company with Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, and Torii Hunter all ahead of him, Ordoñez is easily having the best season of the bunch.
With apologies to Alex Rodriguez, Ordoñez is the clubhouse leader for AL MVP, and he can't best a sub-par performance from Manny Ramirez? I enjoy Manny's eccentricities as much as anyone, and the man is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he is not one of the three best outfielders in the league this year and doesn't deserve most of the 600,463 votes he has. A .291 average with eight homers and 33 RBIs just won't cut it.
There's an even more egregious offense taking place in the second-base voting. Robinson Cano is leading? Seriously? Who is voting for this man? Most Yankee fans are down on his play this year, yet, judging by his AL-leading 389,265 votes, they still appear to be punching his chad on the ballot. They have all seemingly forgetten Cano's numbers this year: a .269 average, three homers and 29 RBIs. They don't seem to mind that Placido Polanco has a batting average (.348) that's 40 points higher than Cano's on-base percentage (.308) but trails Cano by more than 8,000 votes. Polanco has 85 hits through Detroit's 62 games, which has him on pace for 222 for the season, and he’s been a vital part of that offense. Hitting in the two-hole, he's part of the reason Ordoñez and Gary Sheffield have combined for 99 RBIs (Polanco has scored 44 runs).
That said, while Detroit fans seem oblivious to the plights of Polanco and Ordoñez, they're stuffing the ballot box for leading vote-getter Ivan Rodriguez, who ought to be no higher than third in the catcher standings. But Pudge is a bigger star than, say, Victor Martinez (.325, 12 HR, 54 RBIs) or Jorge Posada (.358, 7, 40), both of whom are having better years than Rodriguez (.298, 6, 34), and so, Pudge is undoubtedly the beneficiary of votes from other fan bases. In fact, it's very likely most Boston fans don't want to see Posada behind the plate for the All-Star game and can't justify voting for Jason Varitek, so Pudge seems like a decent alternative.
Now, I open it up to you -- any other voting injustices in the early AL results? Who else from the Central deserves a starting nod?
Labels: AL Central
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Kevin Youkilis is having an awesome season, but is getting shafted due to the NL format, and Ortiz' need to be the 1B entry from the Sox.
Look at the numbers - if he wasn't behind Ortiz, he'd at least have a shot...
You know i hate it when sports writers complain about the all star game voting process. They always say well if the all star game wasn't made up of players fans want to to see then there has been some injustice. I hate to break it to sports writers, but the all star game is for the fans. So are the games. In fact here is how sports work. A fan pays money to see a team play, the team then supposedly entertains said fan with the product on the field and the fan feels like it was money well spent. Think of the fan like a customer, because that is what sports is nowadays. Now I understand it is your terribly important job to sit around and write about something that has no real meaning beyond it's own little world, and cry about how some people don't deserve to play in a game where the sole requirement to play this game is to be popular among the poeple. So do you know what you are doing, you are essentially saying this person should be popular because they deserve to be more popular than this other person, and you are right according to the numbers, but unfortunately that is not how popularity works. Popularity means being liked by the people, that is what the all star game is. It is a game where people want to see certain players play and not other players, hence the word stars in there and you can argue that a certain players numbers should make him a star, but unless they win the popular vote, they are obviously not a big enough star. Hence those who the fans vote in deserve to be in the game, they are the biggest stars, and the numbers back them up. So stop moaning, if it wasn't for the fans the stars wouldnt get paid the owners wouldn't get paid and no one would read your magazine or website and you wouldn't get paid.
Curtis Granderson is having one of the best seasons among AL centerfielders. He leads all of baseball in triples by a wide margin and is hitting around .290 with 8 homers and 34 RBI's from the lead-off spot. However, he is not on the all-star ballot because the game is in a national league park this year so there is not DH. Gary Sheffield took his spot on the ballot. He would also be a good choice for the team.
Unfortunately, we are used to it here in Detroit. No one ever respects what happens here.
It's an exhibition, Joe, so relax. Every year a couple of media know-it-alls come down on us fans, but these writers approach the mid-summer classic from the wrong perspective. An "All-Star" is NOT defined as the best player; as long as the fans get the vote, a star is the FAN FAVORITE. If that means that Yankee and Red Sox fans (groups to which I am not a member of, incidentally) want to stuff the ballot boxes and vote in Cano and Veritek, then they should do just that. If you wanted two teams full of the best players statistically, we could hire some fantasy league idiots to make out the lineups. But until Selig decides to do just that, we fans get to pick our favorites... not the guys with the sexiest numbers.
It's an argument we hear every year. Undeserving stars make the team while the relatively unknown players get overlooked.
However, I don't remember which baseball commentator said it, but it has become my position on the All-Star balloting every since.
While sports writers get to vote on the major awards at the end of the year, the All-Star Game is meant for the fans. It's not the Best Stats Game. It's the one thing in baseball that fans feel they have a hand in, and it would be a shame to take that away.
The same goes for the "every team must be represented" rule. I am a Yankees fan, so it may seem odd to have this opinion. But I remember being proud of Scott Sanderson being the lone Yankee All-Star one year, and waited for him to enter the game. Silly? Yes, of course, it was Scott Sanderson. But I'm sure people in D.C. and Kansas City want to see their team represented as much as fans in New York, LA, or Boston.
Completely, and totally agree. Having these players decide homefield advantage in the playoffs and letting the fans choose who plays is intellectually inconsistant at best, and downright stupid at it worst. You want make the ASG so that it "counts"? More groupies to the winners. And for each homerun A-Rod hits in victory, he gets another she-male.
Regarding Joe Borowski in non-save situations....I don't think it's just him. I can't run the numbers right now, but just using my naked eye, it seems like at least 60% of the time, when a closer is brought into a tie game in the ninth, he takes the loss. I don't know why managers do it so often.
What about Kevin Youkilis not even being on the ballot for first base, but David Ortiz leading first base voting? Youk is top 10 in AVG, OBP, OPS and hits, and is 11th in Runs and doubles. He's top 5 in most of those categories amongst 1B. Maybe he shouldn't be the starter, but he deserves to be on the ballot and make the team. Ortiz has played a grand total of 2 games at first.
How about Curtis Granderson not even being on the ballot and he leads the league in triples!
The problem with fan voting for the All-Star Game is in cases like AL second base: there is no clear rockstar sure-thing. Robinson Cano is the only second-base option most fans have even heard of, and this is a popularity contest. Why not create a numerical system, some formula to calculate BA plus OPS plus HR plus Fielding Percentage plus RBI's. They can simulate the flight path of a slider but not come up with this?
I don't see why it is a necessity that the players who are having the best first halves be elected to the All Star Game. Why shouldn't a proven player who has been in a slump be elected over a potential flash in the pan? Also, Maggs hasn't done a lot for the Tigers after signing that big contract...he has a few good months, and now it's going to be an insult to him to not be in the ASG? Hasn't he been insulting the Tigers and their fans with mediocre play the past few years?
I don't have any issue with the fans voting for the players they actually want to watch play in the All Star Game. I don't see being in the ASG as being something any player is entitled to, it's a privilege granted by the fans who vote. If they want to see a player like Manny, who has been outstanding for many years and may just be having a slow start or may be really starting to decline, instead of Maggs, who seems to have been phoning it in for a substantial part of his career, who are you to tell them they're wrong?
I agree completely. I was voting myself, until I noticed that sometimes I wasn't voting for the right people in all positions. I didn't vote for A-Rod because I don't like him, when he is clearly the front runner. After a few votes, I decided to 'come clean' and vote for whomever DESERVES the spot. That means voting for Polanco and Posada and A-Rod, regardless of whom they play for. Polanco deserves the starting spot without a doubt over Cano.
I understand that fans want to see the most players from "their team" make the all-star team, but you have to be fair and vote for the most deserving players. Yes, even if it means voting for another teams player, even from a team you hate. Heck, I voted for Posada, and I'm from MA. There was no way I could have voted for Varitek over Jorge or Pudge.
Fan voting has gotten out of control, and I agree that it shouldn't be as big a factor as it currently is. Especially now since the game has an effect on the World Series, the best players, not the most popular, should represent their teams and league.
I think the all-star game should be exactly what it is - a game with STARS. It's not an award like the Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, MVP or Cy Young, which should go to the players with the best seasons and best numbers. It's a chance for fans to see their favorite players all in one spot, competing against each other. And while there will certainly be snubs and preference for career success over season success, fans usually like the good players. I actually think that fans should be allowed more control - to vote on at least 1-3 pitchers as well.
Brian Roberts has been even better than Polanco, and you could argue he's even been the best leadoff hitter in the AL (SB, OBP, P/PA, etc.). He's not even in the top 5 in 2B voting.
How about Brian Roberts for second base?
The comment about the stats for the first half of the season is totally right. What about the players who had a great second-half-of-2006? Where does that get recognized in terms of All Star voting?
But the other point is --- who cares? Yes, it's for the fans, and if these are the players they do (or don't) want to see, so be it. That's why this home field advantage thing for the Series is so bogus, as was the flap over the tie game. If it really isn't meant to matter, scrap the home field thing and call a tie a tie if they can't finish by the 9th or 12th or whatever inning.
Hey, Joe, don't be a moron and write such a juvenile column because some players you like are falling short in balloting.
First of all, if this was about great statistical performance, it wouldn't be held mid-year.
Next, it wouldn't be called All-"StaR", it'd be All-"StaT".
And, if it was about stats, there'd be no fan voting to begin with.
You want to change the purpose of the game, be my guest, go ahead and try.
But until you do, don't force your lame definition of "STAR" on us. Hundreds of thousands of people who took the time to vote disagree with you. We vote to see who we WANT to see. It's THAT easy.
The term star is commonly accepted to mean "well known", "bigger than life" and yes, even a "top performer." Because this is OUR game -- the fan's game -- let US decide what types of "stars" we want to see.
And more importantly, stop, stop, stop insulting readership by writing from the moronic angle that an All Star game should be a stat-fest. That's no different than these pukey movie critics heaping praise on some foreign-language film because it's "artsy", but in reality pretty much sucks.
WE will decide the movies we want to watch, and WE will vote in the players we want to see play.
How dare you tell me I'm wrong just because you like someone elses stats? Make your All-Star vote(s) and let the chips fall where they may. I think you'll find that you're being "artsy" and WE just want to see the big names play.
How is Alex Rios not in the top 15 in voting?! He's hitting .292,15HR,38RBI,75H.
Yet he's behind names like ramirez,drew,crisp,abreu,damon,wells. All of who are having worse years than he is.
If the All-Star Game is going to decide which league is going to get home field advantage in the World Series each side should be putting their best players onto their teams and not just fan favorites.
Ofcourse, the better solution to that problem is to do away with the stupid winner of the All-Star Game gets home field advantage thing as its just stupid. Best record gets home field, period.
Take me back to the days of it really just being a game for the fans where Larry Walker can turn around and bat right-handed against Randy Johnson.
It sounds like there are a number of people whose favorite players are not currently in the running for the All-Star Game. Instead, someone else's favorite is. Having the hoi polloi decide is great (and vindicating) when you win (see, my guy is best! Just look at all the other people who agree). But it is far from ideal when you lose (the experts should decide; the mob is clueless!). Those who voted for Gore or Kerry in 2000 or 2004 might be in the latter camp (my guy is better, it is only the uneducated who voted for Bush) though many of those same people probably felt vindicated in their choice of Clinton when he won two elections. Democracy: best for the most or tyrrany of the majority? Half-full...half-empty...
The all-star game being voted on by fans was fine before its outcome actually effected the Home Field advantage in the World Series. I want to see my favorite players to but I would rather see my team be given an advantage in the WS than see one game with that star who might be having a down year. I get to see that player every night. The effect on the WS is too great to take the voting lightly. Plus shouldn't we reward players for having great numbers at the break. The awards at the end are for the whole year and the All Star game should go to those who have performed this year and not on their reputation. Remember the best thing about baseball is that the stats mean more and are followed more closely than in any other sport.
This is an important argument. All-Star appearances are an important factor in how a player is perceived, especially when discussing Hall of Fame credentials. Why should Ordonez get shafted because he isn't as widely marketed by the league and its television affiliates? Why does Manny deserve the starting nod even in a down year because he is so aggressively marketed?
A more important issue, though, is how badly Gold Glove voting needs to be taken from managers and coaches. Do they even take this award seriously anymore? The Gold Gloves essentially comprise the entirety for the defensive factor in the HOF debate for any player. When Jeter wins again this year, I want to be there just to play the video of that double play turn he murdered that sent Mientkiewicz into Lowell's path at first. That is a routine turn for anyone else in the league. That Jeter with three Gold Gloves would be considered as defensively comparable to Alan Trammell, who only won four, sends chills down my spine.
as a fan I would have to say that I would prefer removing the fan vote. They play at least one yankee and one red sox game a week on national television...so why must I be forced to watch an all-star game where they are undeserving starters. Face it, the average fan is either an idiot or a complete homer (you know someone who blindly believes every person on his team is the best).
People complain about athletes having entitlement issues then they vote guys in just on name alone? You cant have it both ways, you want a guy to understand he has to earn things regardless of his name or you just want to give him everything cause hes "Manny being Manny". Beleive it or not this attitude crosses over from the field and into real life and all this does is continue to bloat their already huge egos. Why should u reward a supposed superstar who is having a bad year and futher feed into his ego and convince him what he is doing ok even if he is performing badly. You think a pat on the back to a struggling star helps motivate him? probably not
I knew there'd be someone crowing about how 'it's for the fans!' Sorry, if "the fans" can't see that Ordonez is having a far better season than Manny--and I'm a Red Sox fan--then "the fans" are just too stupid to be allowed to vote.
As a Tigers fan I am biased but why is Curtis Granderson not even on the ballot? He is having a pretty darned good year as well.
Joe - stop being a baby. The guys you mentioned all deserve to make the team and most of them will, they just won't be the starters - don't the managers decide who fills the remaining spots? geez, let the fans have some fun will ya?
Brian Roberts better than Polanco? In one category is Roberts even decidely better... stolen bases. Polanco PWNS Roberts.
If it's going to be a game of "stars" (defined as "big name players people want to see" rather than "players who are the best at their positions") that's fine -- but homefield advantage in the World Series shouldn't depend on it. It's either a popularity contest leading to an exhibition game, or it's a "game that matters" that should be played by the best each league has to offer (and managed that way too: by trying to win, not to give everyone playing time).
Since I don't see MLB doing away with fan voting for the All Star rosters, I think you'd be making better use of your time and anger complaining about Selig's "this time it matters" decision. Have the World Seris go back to alternating leagues for home field advantage, or even have the league that won the World Series in one year determine home field advantage in the next. Just don't have an exhibition game determine it.
Then you can go back to complaining about fan blidness, and the fans can go back to ignoring you, while we all rest assured that none of it matters.
What about B.J Upton at second? Hello?
Definitely agree on Maglio.
Um, Johjima, Buck, Martinez, and Posada all have better numbers at catcher this year. Pudge shouldn't be in the catcher's spot.
Guess people don't like Peralta since he's in Cleveland (then again he doesn't have his own commercials, cosmetics ect. ect.)
You can make an argument for Morneau over Ortiz.
Do fans just vote for Ichiro because they like his name or something? He isn't having an all-star season.
I have a long list of rants but i'll leave it at that.
The fans need to get whacked off this all-star voting.
But at the same time...then TAKE AWAY the home field advantage being a part of it. Anybody get how HUGE homefield advantage can be in a game 7! And the teams aren't even fielding the best line-ups. The All-star game, given its a popularity contest, shouldn't have any merit then--in terms of the World Series and HOF voting (o he's got X All-star appearances). It only leads to overrating the popular players and underrating guys like Ordonez. And if ppl think thats a harmless thing...its not.
Kenji Johjima deserves at least a mention in your discussion of AL catchers. He may come in third on OPS, but his average is significantly higher than Martinez and his defensive reputation is better as well.
You forgot Carl Crawford. I think he's probably used to it by now, though.
Hey SI Consiglio
Ichiro is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. Yeah, he is having a down year - .333BA, .389OBP, on pace to have 230 hits, 127 Runs, 45 steals, 88 RBI.
Hey, I gotta agree. All Star balloting is insane. Some fans refuse to identify the "Star" with the current year not a career.
But, there are also some people who claim to be "Big" Papi actually put themselves at 1B so they can be voted in by the fans by name recognition. And there are some people who vote on Gold Glove recipients by their BA and/or OPS.
If the system needs to be fixed and you want to do it before breakfast, wipe the slate clean, realize that today's pitcher's can't really hit worth a hill of beans and then move on from there.
Morneau is the reigning AL MVP, has more homers and more RBIS than ANY 1B/DH in the AL...and he's not leading the voting...
ORTIZ AND YOUK should both NOT be allowed on the All Star team.
ONE OR THE OTHER.
How the heck are you going to give ONE TEAM 2 guys at on position. If Youk gets placed on that ballot, Ortiz should not be allowed to play first
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