Jul. 21, 2016
MLB All Star Game Voting System Needs Major Overhaul
On the eve of the 2016 MLB All Star Game, with home field advantage on the line, I find myself looking for ways that the MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred can change how players are selected. While there will be a number of people who will tell you that they believe home field advantage has nothing to do with the outcome of the World Series, I will disagree with that argument. As a player growing up, playing through high school, I believe that home field advantage played a role in a number of games throughout my life. When you’re playing at home, you have a crowd behind you, the noises don’t get to you, and as a player you know the nuances of your home field better than any other. I would like to think that when it comes to interleave play – like the World Series – that the American League team knows their park better than the opponents’ and vice versa.
With that being said, I believe it is time for the MLB All Star Game voting system to be changed in a dramatic fashion. As it stands now, with fans voting in the starters of the contest, the All Star Game is not a competition of the best players of each league pitted against one another. It is simply a popularity contest voted upon by dumb fans. Just look at the second base position over the last two seasons, Omar Infante – who batted .220/.284/.318 with a .981 fielding percentage in 2015 and .239/.279/.321 and a .977 fielding percentage in 2016 – managed to find his way into the top 5 vote getters. We could even take into account that Royals fans were stuffing ballot boxes and voting a ridiculous amount of times simply to turn the All Star Game into a Royals game. I know there are more examples than Infante and the Royals, but these two examples are the most recent happenings of a broken system.
Another major component is the fact that voting begins far too early – April 24th of this season to be exact. At the point voting began, a mere 8% of the season had been played. Now can you really tell me that we know who the All Star players are at that point in time? With the voting starting as early as it does, it allows teams to campaign and encourage their fan base to vote for home town players. In doing so, they turn the game into a popularity contest rather than awarding the honor to players who, by merit, deserve it. Another aspect of this is the fact that some teams have more money to spend on their marketing than others. Quite possibly, the smaller market team has a player that is deserving of being an All Star. Yet he will simply get overlooked in the votes due to another, bigger market team out-campaigning them.
If home field advantage is to be awarded to the winner of the Midsummer Classic for the foreseeable future, I would like to see the voting system changed. I believe that the players, coaches and managers of each league should vote to determine the All Star Game starters. Our votes, as the fans, should then determine who will fill the remainder of the roster/bench. I would like to think that players, coaches and managers would select the players that would best help their league to win the game, in turn earning whoever ends up in the World Series home field advantage.
On a side note, if it comes down to home field advantage no longer being determined by the All Star game, the MLB could simply look at the overall interleague record. The league that won the season series could be awarded home field advantage.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I do not enjoy the All Star game. However, it has come to the point where I turn it off because I don’t find the game to be as competitive as it could be. As a fan, I want the best of the best out on that field representing each league, not some schmoe who won the vote due to drunk and stupid voting. I believe it is time that the commissioner sits down and seriously takes a look at the voting system and makes some major changes for the betterment of the game.