Will they ever get the all-star game right?
By Art Stevens
I umpired for eight years in the New York school system. When I attended the classes needed to qualify, one of the things I was taught was if, during the course of a game, I thought someone was making a travesty of the game, I had the power to do something about it. Well, I’m not umpiring any longer, but as a fan of Major League Baseball, I’m going to use what little voice I have to let you know that a travesty is taking place in regards to the voting for the All-Star selections.
What I’m referring to is the stuffing of the ballot box in the San Francisco voting. This is not the first time this has happened. Each time it DOES happen, you get writings similar to this one telling you how unfair it is. Then it dies out until the next time it happens.
David Wright of the New York Mets is having not just a good but a sensational season to this point. He is hitting .356 with nine home runs, 26 doubles, 50 runs batted in and a .450 on base percentage. Pablo Sandoval, of the San Francisco Giants, is hitting .300 with six home runs, 11 doubles, 25 runs batted in and a .362 on base percentage. Pablo Sandoval is a very fine player, and I love watching him play. But folks, let’s get serious here. If players, managers, coaches, writers or any combination of the above made the selections for this year, would Sandoval be the choice over Wright? Of course not.
Actually, I would PREFER the fans doing the voting. There is only one thing wrong with that system. IT DOESN’T WORK. I can fully understand what the fans’ intentions are. They want their favorite players to win. That’s admirable, but at what cost? Where does that leave David Wright? He had gone through a couple of (for him) mediocre years, came back and is, at least to this point, having a career year.
To carry it a bit further, Freddy Sanchez of the Giants finished fourth in the voting for second base against all the other Major League second baseman in the National League. Freddy Sanchez has not played a single inning all of this season. Do I have to say more?
Where the travesty comes into it is not from the fans. They are only doing what Major League Baseball and its Commissioner, Bud Selig, have told them they CAN do; that is, vote for a player as many times as you like. The end result of that, obviously, is that the player that is picked gets there by the fans stuffing the ballot box, and there is a complete disregard for ‘who is the best player,’ which is the only real reason for the voting in the first place.
The culprits here are Major League Baseball, headed by Bud Selig. Their only concern is monetary. When asked about the problem, he replied, “They are sold out there every day and every night. I’m not unhappy about it.” “We have enough built-in safeguards, so I’m comfortable where we are.”
San Francisco is a city with a population of about 800,000, plus some fans coming from surrounding areas. New York City has a population of over 8 million, plus millions more coming from surrounding areas. Pablo Sandoval over David Wright after looking at those stats, and those population numbers? Is this what baseball has sunk to? I can remember when winning the All-Star game MEANT something to the players. They were playing for and representing their league, and busting a gut to have their team come out on top. If that meant not every single player would get into the game, then so be it. Nowadays, getting every player into the game is more important than winning.
I realize that the voting for the players is just one part of the overall problem, but it would be as good a place as any to start putting some respectability back into the All-Star Game. As I’ve said, the ideal way is for the fans to do the voting, but they have proved time and again that they can’t handle it.