Last year it was the Royals, this year, it is the Cubs. I am beyond pleased that so many fans have voted for the Cubs players to get into the All-Star game, and truthfully, many of the Cubs players that will be on the NL All-Star Team will be deserving. However, something needs to change with either the voting, or the significance of the All-Star Game.
Last year, going into the final voting update, the Royals had 5 players that would be starting at their respective positions. One of those players was Omar Infante, and he would have been starting over Jose Altuve. I would argue that Alex Gordon probably wasn’t the most deserving outfielder either, but he was hurt so he didn’t end up playing anyway. In the end, 4 Royals started the game, which is perfectly fine, except for the fact that the game means something. Home field advantage in the World Series is awarded to the league that wins the All-Star Game.
This year, the Cubs have 5 players that would currently be starting if the voting ended today. The only real objection I would have would be to Addison Russell starting the ball game; however, Russell has come up with several clutch hits this year, and has also made some outstanding defensive plays. The alarming part to me is that Jorge Soler is 6th in the outfield voting, and while Soler had begun to turn it around before his injury, he was no where near an All-Star caliber outfielder. While there is no way he would creep up into the top 3, Giancarlo Stanton has had a miserable 2016 season, and he is ahead of Gregory Polanco, who has a batting average that is almost 100 points better than Stanton, and is doing a lot more to help his team win.
So, what can we do to change it? Well, the answer is simple, really. There are two solutions, either of which would be much better than the system that is in place as of now. The first solution would be to make the game mean nothing again. Honestly, there is no reason this game should mean anything anyway. Managers try to rotate position players in and out of the game, and pitchers throw 2 or 3 innings max. The All-Star game is an exhibition. No one would complain if it went back to being a meaningless exhibition. In fact, less people would complain if it went back to being a meaningless exhibition.
If the league wanted to keep the game meaningful, I would suggest something like a player vote. Have every player on every active, 25-man roster submit a ballot. The players wouldn’t be allowed to vote for players on their own team, and ideally they would vote for the players that would give their league the best chance to win.
Obviously, every system has flaws, but it is clear that something needs to change within the current system so that undeserving players are not determining who is rewarded home field advantage in the World Series. With that being said, as long as the system is the way it is, I would encourage everyone reading this to go #VoteRizzo #VoteZobrist #VoteBryant #VoteRussell #VoteFowler and #WriteInRoss.