The All-Star game is approaching very quickly. Fans from around the country will be submitting their ballots online or in print in what is essentially the largest popularity contest in baseball.
However, is that how the All-Star game should be determined?
Don’t get me wrong, I love voting for all of my Philadelphia Phillies yesterday I did there. However, the All-Star game actually has some importance in that it determines who has home-field advantage in the World Series. Shouldn’t each league be absolutely trying to win?
It always used to be that the All-Star game was purely for the fans. It was purely meant for entertainment and allowed the chance to see two hand-picked teams square off in an exhibition. Therefore, it didn’t matter if incredibly popular yet less talented players occasionally work voted in.
Last season, I was confused by the selection of Derek Jeter as the starting shortstop. He has been a great player for a long time, and I really liked watching him play, but the simple fact of the matter was there were better shortstops in the American League last year. He was voted in for his popularity rather than being the best. (Incidentally, he is much more deserving of that honor this year if he is indeed elected again.)
That is just one illustration, but I think that you can understand my point. By not having the absolute best shortstop in the game, the American League was in a less favorable position than it might have been theoretically.
Not only that, but home-field advantage in the World Series can have serious repercussions. While some teams defy the odds and play excellent baseball on the road, most teams play better at home. Whoever had the home-field advantage is more likely to win the series.
If that’s really the case, then shouldn’t the All-Star game be more than a popularity contest? Shouldn’t each league and their respective fans want this game to be the best effort?
New York Yankees fans surely enjoyed seeing Derek Jeter in the All-Star game, but I’m sure that many of them would trade that position for home-field advantage if they had been able to reach the World Series.
Sure, there are no guarantees that anything will make it to the World Series, but the point is that if you are fortunate enough to make it there, you want every possible advantage you can find.
I don’t mean to put down all of you who have turned in your votes, and I will turn in my vote as well. However, please remember that this game actually means something and the best players from that particular season should be representing their leagues rather than the most popular players.