When you hear the words “All-Star Game”, immediately what comes to your mind is the best players in both the National and American leagues squaring off.
Instead, it’s merely a popularity contest made to reward the fans that get on their computers the most.
It needs to change, and fast.
Come July 10th, the AL team will have nine elected starters via the MLB All-Star Game Ballot, while the NL roster will have eight fan-elected starters.
As for pitchers and reserve players, they will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers, Ned Yost from the Royals and Terry Collins from the Mets.
This year will be the 87th All-Star Game. The first All-Star Game was held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. Unlike other “All-Star” events, the “Midsummer Classic” has high stakes on the line.
The stakes are that the winning league receives home field advantage in the World Series.
Although it wasn’t always that way.
In 2002, former commissioner Bud Selig declared the All-Star Game a 7-7 tie after eleven innings, a controversial decision. To prevent the issue in the future, Selig added the home field advantage stake.
But the true problem regarding the All-Star Game lies within the voting.
As it currently stands, five Chicago Cubs players lead in position categories: Dexter Fowler (right field), Kris Bryant leads at third, Addison Russell leads at shortstop, Ben Zobrist at second, and Anthony Rizzo at first. Record-wise, the Chicago Cubs are the leading team in the National League, and of course, Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S.
Many have criticized the fact that not all of those players are deserving to start (or even be in) the All-Star Game, save for Zobrist. There are those that believe Nolan Arenado should start over Bryant, and Wil Myers should start over Rizzo.
And this isn’t something that is only happening with the Cubs in 2016: it’s occurred every season since fan voting has begun. The weight of fans stuffing the ballots just for their favorite player to make it into what’s supposed to be the biggest gathering of top players is a recurring problem. It devalues the purpose of the game, and even from a business standpoint, hurts MLB because multiple fanbases without their favorite players will refuse to watch it.
This year, the All-Star Game will once again have rosters full of talented players, but not necessarily “All-Stars” worthy of being in the contest.
It is something that needs to change, and fast, or risk losing even more credibility already.