This is clearly a broken system that needs to change. Ever since the 2003 decision that the All-Star Game should matter, there have been naysayers and doubters who continue to this day. How can a game that has always been about fun suddenly dictate who takes home-field advantage in the World Series?
If the game is going to count, the representatives cannot be chosen by the fans. Fans are a biased source. That’s nothing against the fans. I’m a fan, and I’m incredibly biased as well. I have to remind myself when I’m voting that this stuff matters. Players should be picking who represents them. It only makes sense. It’s the players who the All-Star Game affects the most, not the fans.
This year is just another example of the fact.
Derek Jeter is starting for the American League. I’ll never have anything bad to say about “The Captain.” He’s one of the few loyal athletes left in the world, and he’s one of the best shortstops we’ve ever seen. But him getting voted in to start proves that the fans don’t care who wins the game; they’re voting strictly based on popularity. His stats aren’t bad by any means, but compared to other shortstops in the junior circuit, he does not give his team the best chance of winning.
Yadier Molina is another example of the fact. Is he the best catcher in the league? No doubt, but unfortunately for all the St. Louis Cardinals fans out there, Jonathan Lucroy is simply better this year and should be starting over the undeniably popular Molina. He has a batting average 30 points higher than Molina with two home runs and 14 RBIs more. Molina is obviously the better defensive catcher, as runners only successfully steal 50 percent of the time off him compared to Lucroy’s 72 percent, but in the All-Star Game that is a minor factor.
It’s not fair to whoever ends up making the World Series to base home-field advantage off of a competition decided by a popularity contest. Let’s look at more examples.
Jose Altuve leads all the American League in batting average, stolen bases, hits, multi-hit games and he’s near the top in a whole slew of other things, yet he couldn’t even get to third in the voting. It took the players to get him voted in. What does this prove? It proves that the players know better.
Aramis Ramirez is another head-scratcher because it’s not like he’s the most popular player, yet he’s the National League’s starter at third base. Casey McGehee has far superior numbers in everything but home runs, yet he only made it to the final players vote. Ramirez is just middle of the pack in all offensive numbers. Nothing makes him any better than Anthony Rendon, Matt Carpenter or Todd Frazier. Yet the fans in their infinite wisdom deemed him the most worthy. Why?
Jeter and Molina have done enough in their careers to reassure everyone that they are one of, if not the best at their respective positions. But the All-Star Game is about what you’re doing right now.
Jeter obviously gets in out of respect just like Cal Ripken Jr. did in 2001. So what’s the difference?
In 2001, the game didn’t matter. So by all means, put the Iron Man through; he deserves to go out an All-Star. But now that the game matters, sending people through based on their career achievements is not a luxury that can be afforded.