Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is stuck in this weird gray area. Is it simply an exhibition? Should the game’s best players be giving it their all? Is it a meaningful game? Why should fans care?
When it comes to that final question, MLB’s answer is to allow fans the opportunity to vote their favorite players in as starters. That’s their solution for making fans care.
I have a problem with this. After all, it’s the ALL-STAR GAME. Opening up voting to fans allows players who don’t necessarily deserve the opportunity to steal a roster spot from someone that does.
I’ll be honest, I stopped voting for the All-Star Game some time ago. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore with the online system. I used to love when those ballots would appear around Shea. I’d grab one of those and fill it out with care as if I were casting my votes for Cooperstown. Even as a kid I wouldn’t select all Mets. Maybe it’s just me, but I always took time to select who I thought the best players were, no matter the team.
The current system allows you to vote 35 times online under the same email address. That’s just ridiculous. Why are we allowing fans to vote for their hometown players 35 freaking times? Secondly, who are these people that are sitting there voting over and over again? There has to be a better use of your time.
MLB always seems concerned with attendance figures. If teams are so worried about that then maybe start enticing fans with exclusive All-Star Game voting at stadiums. It would do nothing for me, but it seems there are plenty of fans spending their days voting through several email addresses that would probably make the trek just for that.
Don’t get me wrong, I think fan involvement should definitely be incorporated. If it were up to me, I would allow the players, coaches and front office members to select the roster. From there you can have fans vote on who should be starting at each position. Keep the “final vote” in place that continues to allow fans the chance to get a player who just missed the cut into the game.
This allows the rightful players to appear in the Midsummer Classic, the fans get their say and there’s still some excitement for final pushes to get a fringe-worthy player in. If you want a popularity contest that causes heavy social conversation, then allow each team to nominate one player for that final spot and let the fan bases have at it. I’m down with that, for one spot. #MetsTwitter vs. the field would be an interesting fight to see.
Take note, MLB. Get it together or this game will continue to be viewed as a glorified exhibition that doesn’t realize it’s an exhibition.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.