For the first time in several years, the MLB All-Star game is just that, an All-Star game.
In years past, the game decided which league would get home-field advantage in the World Series, but this year, the winner only claims bragging rights.
This makes fan voting more justified.
The All-Star game is no longer a game with any meaning, it is purely for fan enjoyment.
Because of that, fans should continue to vote for the All-Star game starters, because the game should now solely focus on the fans and whom they want to see play.
The fans have also gotten much smarter with their votes because of the invention on the online ballot.
Before the online ballot, fans selected the All-Stars via paper ballot. The paper ballot only listed the players’ names and positions, usually enticing fans to pick players they knew rather than the deserving candidates.
Online ballots are a relatively new thing, having become exclusive three years ago.
Sure, last year, fans made some mistakes; for instance, Ben Zobrist starting over Daniel Murphy.
But this year, fans seemed to improve. A lot of that has to do with online voting.
Online voting makes it possible to list the players’ stats next to their names on the ballot, allowing the fans to compare each player and select the best one.
This year’s All-Star starting lineups are evidence that this switch to online voting has paid off.
Players such as Justin Smoak and Zach Cozart made this year’s All-Star starting lineups, something that wouldn’t have happened five years ago.
Both would’ve been reserves behind more popular players such as Miguel Cabrera and Addison Russell.
While fan voting may not be perfect, it has definitely taken some strides in the right direction.
— Jordan Zuniga
Yes, the All-Star game is a break that includes activities that are fan favorites, but that doesn’t mean fans should solely have control over who starts in the All-Star game.
Not only do fans look forward to this, but so do the players who work hard to get into the game.
Things can get a little sticky when you have players who are voted in by their fans because they are their favorites and not because of what they can do on the field.
I understand that fans want their favorite players in the game; it makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is players who have been more consistent and put up better numbers than the players who were voted in by the fans.
At that point, the game shouldn’t be called the All-Star game, it should be called the Fans Favorites or something of that nature.
Also, that the rosters for the highly anticipated game were cut from 34 players to 32 players has an effect.
But each year, there are players who are snubbed after an impressive first half of the season.
Chicago’s third baseman Kris Bryant didn’t make the game. His numbers might not be as strong as last season’s, but the 2016 NL MVP is still having an impressive season with OPS of .901 and 16 home runs, and he leads NL third basemen with 53 walks.
Another example is second baseman Robinson Canó of Seattle. Canó leads the AL second basemen with 60 RBIs, with 17 home runs, and he didn’t even find his name on the ballot.
Then there’s Tampa Bay first baseman Logan Morrison. It is certainly a mystery why he was left off the roster.
Morrison is at the top of the AL with a 2.7 WAR, 24 homers, 57 RBIs, and 47 walks.
I understand that it is inevitable for fans to vote for their favorites, but this is the All-Star game, and players who have had impressive first-half seasons should be in the running on the ballot.
— Jess Westendorf