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Problems arise in voting for MLB All-Star Starters

Royals players current hold lead in seven positions.

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With the Major League Baseball All-Star game approaching, fan voting for the starting positions is in full swing. The game is an annual tradition meant to showcases the league’s best players while determining home field advantage for the World Series.

There is just one problem. This year, many of the league’s best players will not be in the starting lineup if voting results hold. No Miguel Cabrera, who is batting .330 with 13 home runs and 43 runs batted in, no Mike Trout, the American League Most Valuable Player a year ago, no Prince Fielder who is hitting .346 for the Texas Rangers and no Alex Rodriguez who has been having an exceptional season for the Yankees. Lets be honest, who wouldn’t want to see A-Rod in this year’s All-Star game.

Major League Baseball All-Star starters used to be decided by mangers, and coaches of teams. They were selected based on skill and their ability to perform up to the halfway point in the season. In 1947, everything changed as Major League Baseball allowed fans to vote for the starting players. However, Cincinnati Reds fans stuffed ballot boxes in 1957, electing all but one of the team’s starting players, first baseman George Crowe, to start in the All-Star game. The move upset Commissioner Ford Frick at the time, and he removed Red’s players Gus Bell, and Wally Post. Frick also transferred All-Star voting responsibilities back to the players, managers and coaches.

The fans were not reinstated into All-Star game voting until after 1970, when the league felt that fans were losing interest in the game. The current system of having the game decide home-field advantage in the World Series came about in 2002. Following a tie in the All-Star game that year, then-commissioner Bud Selig changed the importance of the game resulting home field advantage to the league that wins the game.

Before the start of the 2015 season, MLB changed how fans could vote for its starting All-Stars. Prior to the 2015 season, fans had the ability to vote online or with a paper ballot at ballparks. That was removed and baseball transitioned to a 100-percent online voting system, with the hope that doing so would create more fan interaction and drive up votes. Well, that’s exactly what happened, except not the way MLB was looking for, and the new system is taking what actually is an important game is for the actual players, out of the players’ hands.

From a fan perspective, seeing a display of power or impressive play is why we watch the All-Star Game, as well as having our favorite teams represented in the starting lineup. But from the looks of the current ballot, that won’t be the case. The Kansas City Royals currently hold the lead for starters as they have seven of the possible eight positions for the American League. Royal fans are believed to be electronically stuffing the ballot boxes. The St. Louis Cardinals currently hold the lead for the National League, as they occupy four of the eight positions. The All-Star game as of now looks like an interleague matchup between the Royals and Cardinals with a few extras thrown in for fun.

Royals fans shouldn’t be blamed for making an impressive show of support for their team. Instead, MLB should realize this is a problem they put on themselves. For one, 35 votes per email allows for an unfair advantage, and eliminating voting at ballparks seems to have only hurt.

Having a selection based on fan, manager, coaches and player votes should be the way MLB approaches voting in years to come. This system would also allow MLB to see who fans want to see and who managers and coaches believe are the best. Players who are not having good years should not in any way be rewarded. For example, in the American League both Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and shortstop Jose Iglesias are easily the best players at their respective positions in this year, and both have hit extremely well. Neither however, are currently starting at this year’s All-Star game in Cincinnati.

MLB announced on Thursday that it has already voided out over 60 million votes due to a fear of improper voting. MLB grew concerned when seeing that Los Angeles Angles outfielder and reigning AL Most Valuable Player Mike Trout is the only non-Royal in the starting lineup as of now.

Bottom line is, if MLB is going to keep the system as it is, something needs to be done. Either let fans influence an event that should have no bearing on what could ultimately decide who the winner of the World Series is, or take them out of it and keep it competitive. Because as it’s currently constructed, the method is a disaster waiting to happen.

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