Yesterday was April 25th. I know that’s not a news item, but the fact that MLB released the ballot for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game is.
Well, sort of. At this point in the season, it shouldn’t be close. It will be June before I personally consider what I will do with my ballot. And I get 35 ballots! 10 extra for having a MLB.com account! I break them up over a month in case I change my mind on some positions.
The majority of us know some of the reasons why it’s release occurs so early in the season. One common comment I see is to amass hits for their site, MLB.com. But let’s not be fooled here. Sports fans, not just baseball fans, realize that in the digital age, all leagues realize that those hits are vital for their property.
But for those of us who vote on players for the Midsummer Classic based on certain criteria such as stats, it’s comical. Here’s a few reasons why.
With some players barely over 100 plate appearances, for those of us that use a player’s performance as the sole reason we vote for a player, we simply don’t have the a reliable sample to make decisions.
If you’ve already viewed the ballot, you are aware that there are players on the ballot who haven’t even played in a game this season. But they will get votes.
There are players on the ballot that are no longer playing, such as Alex Gonzalez. But he will get votes as well as any other player who find a similar fate.
There are currently numerous players hitting below .200. I know this has happened before, but to view these numbers and think that someone, somewhere will vote for some of these players is kind of crazy.
Teams will flood your Twitter timelines on a daily basis (at least) with the hashtag #Vote[insert team name here] and encouraging you to vote. Already had a few hit mine this morning. Pretty sure there will be more before this day is done. And there will be fans that will follow that lead. If you follow all 30 teams, this can become an extreme nuisance.
Teams also host various functions that will, in effect, “stuff the ballot box”. There’s various means to do this, too. PR departments know the tricks. They may even offer freebies to those that attend said functions. Isn’t something along these lines why the vote was taken away from the fans in the first place?
But nowadays, it’s considered fair game. It has started to evolve into which ever organization has the hardest working and innovative PR department that has its players selected.
The ASG isn’t until July 15th. Would there be anything wrong in waiting at least one more month before releasing the ballot?
Oh, and can we please not let the outcome of the ASG determine the home field advantage for the World Series?