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When it comes to debating the true meaning of an “all star” there is clearly not enough time in the world.
This proves especially true in Major League Baseball. Every season there are always controversial picks for the All-Star game. This year has proven to be no different.
As chosen by the fans, it is always going to be unfair as to which players get selected. There is a reason that two-thirds of the American League’s starting lineup is composed of Red Sox and Yankees players.
No disrespect to the great Yankee captain Derek Jeter, but a .260 batting average, which ranks eighth among American League short stops, is not exactly All-Star material.
Cleveland Indians short stop Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .291 with 14 home runs and nearly 100 hits, yet he was chosen as a reserve. Though the numbers are clear enough to put up a strong argument as to why Cabrera, as well as Detroit Tigers short stop Jhonny Peralta could easily replace Jeter on the depth chart, I’m not surprised at all by the decision made by the fans who chose Jeter.
It’s the same reason Sunday Night Baseball features the same handful of teams every week. Teams such as the Brewers, Pirates, and Diamondbacks are all making noise in their respective divisions, yet America would rather see teams like the Dodgers and Cubs, who are both out of first place in their divisions by double digit margins.
As for the Yankees and Red Sox, well, they’re always going to be televised, and that’s just the way it is.
As for the All-Star selections, there has to be a line drawn. Ever since the famous tie in the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee, Commissioner Bud Selig decided to give the winner of the All-Star game home field advantage in the World Series to avoid another tie.
Despite the numerous problems I have with that idea, I have one question: Is it fair to let the fans select the rosters for a game that has such drastic implications?
Although Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is tied for the major league lead in wins with 11, he was left off the American League roster. On the other hand, fellow Yankee catcher Russell Martin was selected as a reserve despite his .223 batting average, while Tigers catcher Victor Martinez is batting .333 and he has yet to be chosen. Now how does that happen?
Josh Hamilton is starting in the outfield for the American League despite being limited to less than 50 games because of a broken arm. Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals is having a stellar season and could easily replace Hamilton on the starting roster. However, he plays in Kansas City, so that would never be an option.
As for the National League, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is having the best season of his young career, batting .294 with 12 homers, 46 runs batted in, and a slugging percentage of nearly .400. However, New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran was chosen despite his lower average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases. Not to negate the fact that unlike Beltran’s Mets, McCutchen’s Pirates are in serious contention for the National League Central Division.
In today’s game where big names bring in endorsements, revenue and fans, Beltran over McCutchen from a marketing standpoint is, with no pun intended, right on the money.
As long as the fans are able to choose who starts the All-Star game, there will never be a fair selection. The roster will be chosen purely on popularity. Much like senior superlatives or prom king, the results are never going to be fair.
A gigantic market like New York will always triumph over a small market like Oakland; likewise, Los Angeles will always triumph over Florida.
Small markets, whether involving the team as a whole, or the players being selected for the All-Star game are always going to be inferior.
It will always be the Cubs and White Sox over the Pirates and Brewers. There’s a reason Derek Jeter is starting in the All-Star game and Asdrubal Cabrera isn’t. It’s only a matter of time before this madness continues and we have retired players being chosen over lesser known players.