There is always controversy when the rosters for the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game are announced. Deserving players are often snubbed. Undeserving players get voted onto the team. In the end, it is basically a popularity contest.
MLB officials are quick to point out that the voting process gives fans the chance to vote for the starters and the media great material for debate. But if it produces laughable results on an annual basis, shouldn’t it be changed?
This has been an issue for close to a century now. In the 1930s and 1940s, the manager chose his league’s entire roster. That was ultimately abandoned because it led to managers picking undeserving players from their own team.
Fan voting was introduced in 1970. Fans inherited the right to vote their favorite players into the starting lineup, with the managers selecting the reserves. In 2003, player voting was added to help select reserves in an effort to avoid managerial bias.
Each of the old systems was changed because they were flawed, but the present one is far from perfect. Combining the player and fan votes while eliminating managerial selections altogether might result in more deserving players making the roster.
There has been talk that selections could be statistically driven. MLB states that this causes two problems. First of all, what stats would you use? Secondly, MLB does not want to remove the fans from the selection process. It is wildly popular within what is already a waning fan base.
I have one change that could be made. MLB has this ridiculous notion that all 30 teams need to have a representative. This, alone, leaves deserving players off the team.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the All-Star Game means something, as the winning league gets home-field advantage for the World Series. Surely you would want the best players on the field to give you the best chance of winning.
The Commissioner’s Office clearly disagrees, and has instituted a system that guarantees undeserving players will get the honor of playing in the Midsummer Classic. If this was just an exhibition, it wouldn’t matter so much, but it’s not anymore. This game has a real effect on the eventual champion, should the World Series go to seven games as it did last year.
The problem with allowing everyone to vote 25 times for each email account they use is that they can effectively stuff the ballot box.
How about one person one vote?