Every year there are complaints about exclusions from the All-Star Game. This year, it’s no different.
Johnny Cueto and Clayton Kershaw are among five players on the fans’ National League final vote ballot. Alex Rodriguez isn’t even in that conversation.
The All-Star Game is fun, but there’s a lot wrong with it, and not just because four Kansas City Royals were voted in by the fans.
Major League Baseball is justifiably proud that online balloting was a big hit. This was the first year that balloting was done exclusively online, but there’s really no reason that needs to begin on Apr. 30.
Jason Kipnis, who should have been the American League’s starting second baseman, was hitting .218 then. He’s batting .340 now.
While the extended balloting gave fans and baseball officials ample warning that some undeserving Kansas City Royals could have been voted as starters, well, Alex Gordon still was elected.
Omar Infante and his .231 average were beaten out by a more deserving Jose Altuve, but a shorter time to vote could have worked in Kipnis’ favor.
Baseball officials don’t do a great job at explaining the vote to fans. Three deserving relievers: New York’s Dellin Betances, Kansas City’s Wade Davis and Minnesota’s Glen Perkins were voted in by their peers, but that should have been explained more fully.
American League manager, the Royals’ Ned Yost, took the qualified Kelvin Herrera from his team as well as the Orioles’ Zach Britton and Darren O’Day.
That shows just how seriously Yost took the job. He’s trying to win the game because he knows his team could benefit from home field advantage.
And what about A-Rod? Yost said that he was looking for more versatile players, but the game needs more fans, and by having a recognizable name, more will watch.
It’s been an All-Star tradition to keep choosing star players long after others have eclipsed them.
While casual fans know Andrew McCutchen, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, few know DJ Mahieu, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock.
They all know A-Rod.
While he’s a polarizing figure among fans and distinctly unpopular with his fellow players, he would get attention. And, his numbers aren’t half bad, either.
I’ll watch the game next Tuesday, but baseball doesn’t needs me to watch. It needs to have the fans who watched the compelling NBA finals last month and the inspiring women’s World Cup last week.