It’s time to take the fans’ vote out of the MLB All Star Game. As a fan that loves to see my beloved Milwaukee Brewers play in the game, I never thought I’d say those words. The more I think about it though, the more it makes sense to eliminate the fans from this important game. Since 2003, the MLB All Star Game has decided whether the National League’s or American League’s representative will have home field advantage in the World Series. There has been a lot of discussion over how important home field advantage really is when it comes to the World Series, but nonetheless the Midsummer Classic comes with a major implication.
I am all about Major League Baseball wanting to put on a show for the fans. That is ultimately what the All Star Game has become. It has become a nearly week long event that includes a Celebrity Softball Game, a Futures game, a Home Run Derby, and the All Star Game. It is all about allowing players and fans to enjoy themselves, and I respect that.
In a game that matters, though, it is important that the best players are given the opportunity to represent their respective leagues. In my opinion, the All Star Game roster needs to be driven by statistical performance, not by which team’s fans are willing to click a submit button on the internet more often. Cubs and Red Sox fans proved that they are pretty good at that this season, and come Tuesday night each of those teams will have 4 starters for their respective league’s team. Had Dexter Fowler been healthy, he would have increased the number of Cubs’ starters to 5.
The Cubs are one of the best team in baseball. However, there are other players that have put together more impressive seasons, but were left off of the rosters because they aren’t a popular name. Stats need to matter, and there are quite a few names in the game this year that have shown they are not always so important in the current system.
Let’s use one of the starting Cubs as an example to prove what is wrong with the current system. Addison Russell does not deserve to be on this team, let alone a starter if you look at his stats. Among National League shortstops, Russell ranks twelfth in batting average, eighth in on base percentage, ninth in slugging percentage, and seventh in home runs. I will give him credit, though, as he is tied for third in runs batted in.
Before anyone tries to argue that it was his fielding that got him there, consider that he is ranked tenth in fielding percentage and tied for fifth in errors in the National League. And Russell isn’t the only example.
Adam Duvall for the Reds is batting .249 which is twentieth in the National League among outfielders. He was voted in when a guy like Starling Marte who is third in the NL in batting average at .316 only made the game because he is an injury replacement. This isn’t just a National League problem either.
On the American League side, Michael Saunders only made the team because of the “Final Vote.” With that being said, among American League outfielders he is ranked fourth in batting average, third in on base percentage, and third in slugging percentage. All Star starter Mookie Betts ranks lower than Saunders in all three of those categories, but Saunders had to go through a final vote process to be selected.
The system is flawed, plain and simple. There is no reason a guy like Saunders nearly misses the game or a guy like Ryan Braun, who is actually fourth in the entire MLB in batting average among outfielders, is going to miss out on the game this summer. So there is my bias, I’m upset Braun is missing out, but the fact of the matter is, he deserves it. It’s time to understand that the best players need to play in a game that matters. It’s time to take the fan vote out of the Major League Baseball All Star Game.
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