Back in March we learned that Major League Baseball was going to adopt a new All-Star voting process. Today it gets underway. It’s a two-tiered system modeled roughly after political elections because, hey, who doesn’t love and want more of those?
The first part of it, called “the Primary,” starts today at 2PM. It’s the typical All-Star voting you’re used to in which you can pick anyone. That goes through June 21. The top three vote-getters at each position will then be placed on a new ballot -- “The Starter’s Election” -- from which fans will then vote again during a single 28-hour period to decide who starts the All-Star Game. The results of that will be announced on June 27. The bench guys and pitchers and stuff will be chosen as usual, with full rosters announced a couple of days later.
While this is a somewhat convoluted way of picking an All-Star team, Major League Baseball’s interest in this is not, primarily anyway, about picking the All-Star team. Rather, it’s about driving as much traffic as possible to its voting page, which this year is sponsored by Google, who MLB has announced will steer traffic to the vote site whenever you search for a player’s name or “MLB vote” or whatever. Indeed, the whole thing is called “The 2019 Google MLB All-Star Ballot.” The aim is getting as many people to search for, land on and otherwise engage the voting site, with the ability to cast multiple votes not only possible, but basically encouraged.
Is this an improvement over the little paper ballots we used to fill out at the ballpark? I dunno. We had some dumb All-Star teams in the past. We’ll have dumb All-Star teams in the future too. It’s the nature of the beast when you open things up to a fan vote. Still, it’s rather amusing to see all pretense of merit-based selection being taken out of this in the name of gimmickry.