Each year, the MLB uses fan votes to decide who should be the starters for the MLB All-Star game. While getting fan input may seem important, if you want to see the best players in baseball, you may have to wait a few innings.
When you are an All-Star, you have earned the right to be considered one of the best players that season and deserve to play in the Midsummer Classic.
You should see the aces of most teams, the underdog players who are having incredible seasons, and the elite players who produce historic numbers every year.
When the MLB allows fans to vote who should start in the All-Star game, we see extreme fan bases push their players to the top of the leaderboard when they may be having lack-luster seasons.
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For example, the MLB released the list of nominees for who the fans voted for the top three options to who should start per position in the All-Star game.
A good example is Aaron Judge, an outfielder for the New York Yankees.
Despite playing in only 22 games this season due to injury, he is currently listed as a finalist for the outfield starting position in the American League.
While he was an All-Star his two previous seasons, he is somehow beating other players like Tommy Pham on the Tampa Bay Rays, who has been grinding away all season and has better slash line than a few of the shortlist candidates.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with fan involvement in picking some of the players who should take part in the All-Star game.
Fans should be able to pick a few players to make the game in order to let small market teams have more than one player present on the roster.
The fans also do pick some of the better players that particular season as finalists for the starting lineup, making the same decision the MLB probably would have made.
It is just when we see these fan bases push all their players forward from the starting line up where we see the cracks in the voting system.
I should also mention that the league makes sure one player from every team in the MLB is selected as an All-Star to ensure fans have some representation from their favorite team, but the fans could help vote a second or third player (hence voting system).
To give the fans the power to pick who starts the games eliminates the competitive aspect of the Midsummer Classic, as well as excludes players who may not be ‘popular’ or play on small market teams who do not receive votes.
Players who should easily be on the roster get excluded from starting in the game because an entire fan base decided their entire starting line-up was All-Star worthy (newsflash, they are not), and now they have to wait for hopefully the MLB to include them in the roster.
Even if they get selected to the roster, there is no guarantee they will be playing, which eliminates the best players playing against the best players.
The players would likely see less time in the field the further the game goes along, as the starters usually carve up more of the innings (except for pitchers, they get rotated quickly).
I want to see a National League ace go against one of the best hitters in the American League because the likelihood of this inter-league matchup may only happen once every four years.
I feel like an old man when I say that the game is changing.
The All-Star game is moving to a fan experience rather than seeing the best players that season go head to head in an all out battle for bragging rights.
As a fan of baseball, I can watch the entire Atlanta Braves line-up play 162 games a year.
Seeing them all start in the All-Star game is nothing special, and no team in the league has a talented enough line-up to carve out all 9 spots for the Midsummer Classic.
Let the best players play. Simple as that.