I have to give the fans of the Kansas City Royals and their players a ton of credit. They certainly get out and vote. They vote early and they vote often. Unfortunately, they just don’t vote well. The Royals are a great team and deserve all of the success that they have achieved over the past couple of season. What they don’t deserve, however, is to have eight or nine players start for the American League All-Star team in July. That would be an absolute travesty.
It would also be something that would make for quite a snoozer, at least for the first few innings of a game that – wait for it – actually has meaning.
Yes. Remember that? Remember when the All-Star Game ended in a tie? That led to a change that would dictate that the winner of the Summer Classic would earn home-field advantage for the team representing that league in the World Series. As talented as the Royals are, as a fan from another A.L. contender, do you really want nearly all of them starting against a loaded roster from the National League that is likely to include players such as Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt and others?
Look, I will admit that I cheer for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers. But neither team is even close to deserving more than a few players who should start in the All-Star game. And, before you tell me that the Royals are a better team than the Yankees and the Tigers, I am fully aware of that. But it still doesn’t change my mind.
Obviously, it isn’t just fans from the Kansas City area who are voting. Like one Royals player said, it is clearly more than people from one city voting, if a few players have received over four million votes. Not even Kansas City fans would have enough time to vote that many times, right?
Again, like I said, I give them credit. They are clearly passionate about their team. That still doesn’t change the fact that this would just be wrong if anywhere near the current number of vote-getters from the Royals start the All-Star Game. They are simply not deserving of the opportunity. And while yes, this game is supposedly for the fans, the fact that it now has meaning further proves that the All-Star Game voting needs to be taken out of the hands of the fans.
Am I wrong? Should Does Eric Hosmer deserve to start at first base over Miguel Cabrera? No. Does Mike Moustakas deserve to start at third base over Josh Donaldson? Nope. Should Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon be leading Josh Reddick and Adam Jones in votes for the outfield? No way. What about Salvador Perez starting at catcher instead of Stephen Vogt or Russell Martin? I just don’t see it.
Look. I will admit that those five Royals are worthy of All-Star Game consideration. They are having fine seasons. But, it does get much worse. How about Omar Infante starting at second base over, well anyone? He is having a horrible season, while players such as Jason Kipnis, Jose Altuve and Brian Dozier are having great years.
Alcides Escobar is a very nice player but, in no way does he deserve to be named to the team, let alone start the contest. That honor should go to Jose Iglesias or Marcus Semien or even Jose Reyes.
What is next? Should Yordano Ventura be named as the starting pitcher for the junior circuit? Should he be followed by Edinson Volquez and Jeremy Guthrie and Danny Duffy pitch through the sixth inning? Would that be better than the likes of Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, David Price and Dallas Keuchel? No, it would not be.
I get that the game is for the fans. All games are. The fans are the ones who pay the ridiculous ticket and concession prices that allow the owners to continue to give the players the insane salaries. Perhaps, they still deserve a say for who starts in the game. But not the final say.
Structure the voting like the NFL. Give the fans a vote, but only one that counts for one-third of the final voting, along with the players and coaches. Do something that allows players who are deserving to play and start in this prestigious game, instead of simply making it a popularity contest.
And a strange one, at that.