The problems with a popularity contest that counts


Every year since I started blogging about baseball in 2004, I’ve taken up the topic of the stupidity of the All Star Game. I have no problem with the game itself, and when I had the opportunity to attend the 15-inning affair at Yankee Stadium in 2008, I had a blast. But no matter how thrilling that Mid-Summer Classic was, I can’t get past the fact that the All Star Game counts for something.

To recap, the problem arose in 2002 when the AL and NL both ran out of pitchers after 11 innings with the score still tied at 7. Because there are no ties in baseball, Bud Selig came off looking the fool when he announced that the game would end without a victor. Heaven forbid a glorified exhibition game end with no winner. To combat this problem, Selig announced that the All Star Game, of all things, would determine home-field advantage in the World Series. A pre-season coin toss would be just as arbitrary.

With the decision to make the All Star game count quickly becoming an engrained part of this July affair, MLB hasn’t addressed the problems with the way the teams are selected. The fans — those who drive ratings and the game’s success — still choose who gets to start, but they aren’t very good at it. Instead of picking the best players at each position, the fans just vote for the most popular, and the leagues aren’t represented, at least at first, by the real All Stars.

This year’s voting is no exception and, in fact, serves to highlight the problem. Let’s take first base in the AL. When MLB unveiled the early voting results, the lead vote-getter at first base was Mark Teixeira. I don’t know many Yankee fans who think number 25 is off to an All Star start. On the season, Teixeira is hitting .209/.327/.378 with 7 home runs, 30 RBIs and 37 strike outs. At this pace, he’ll strike out a career-high 133 times. The AL WAR leaderboard shows seven first basemen better than Teixeira, and Justin Morneau, the AL’s top first baseman, has received nearly 140,000 fewer votes than Teixeira.

At short stop, the same absurdity repeats itself. Derek Jeter — .276/.320/.396 with declining defensive numbers — leads the entire American League in votes. The WAR leader at short in the junior circuit is Elvis Andrus, and he has received 400,000 fewer votes than DJ.

Around the horn, the voting makes more or less sense. Robinson Cano should be leading at second base, and few will question Joe Mauer or Evan Longoria as All Stars at their respective positions. Of the Ichiro-Nelson Cruz-Carl Crawford outfield trio, only Crawford truly deserves to be there, but Cruz and Ichiro ain’t chopped liver.

On a personal level, I’d love to see Jeter and Teixeira start the All Star Game (and I’d love it even more as a Yankee fan if they could put up numbers to deserve it). But as a supporter of a team that has a legitimate shot at playing in the World Series and one who understands the benefits of home field advantage, I’d rather see the best players at their positions earn that Mid-Summer Classic starting berth.

The All Star Game should count or it should be a popularity contest. As long as it remains parts of both, the voting system will be as flawed as Bud Selig’s misguided concept. This time, it counts, and yet, it shouldn’t.

Categories : All Star Game


  1. A.D. says:

    Curtis Granderson 5th in OF, absolutely redic given he’s been hurt & hasn’t hit very well when he has played.

  2. Rose says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The only time I think the voting actually may work is when a Cal Ripken Jr. type player may be retiring and their numbers may not be good enough to get them in the game. I thought Cal Ripken’s last All Star Game send off was pretty entertaining.

    Justin Morneau’s OBP is nearly .500

    Mark Teixeira couldn’t make the team to clean Morneau’s shoes if the ASG players were chosen based on actual performance.

    • A.D. says:

      The only time I think the voting actually may work is when a Cal Ripken Jr. type player may be retiring and their numbers may not be good enough…

      This is actually the definition of it not working. If the player isn’t good enough, then they aren’t an all star.

      • Rose says:

        This is actually the definition of it not working.

        I doubt perennial All Star’s making it one last time out of respect and to entertain the fans is the actual definition of it not working.

        Players (in general) who aren’t performing well who are voted onto the All Star Team is more the definition. I, personally, would make an exception for perennial All Stars (future Hall of Famers) who are retiring that year though. If you and everybody else disagree, that’s entirely fine. I just don’t think the All Star Game is that important where that would bother a lot of people. It’s not like future Hall of Famers (and perennial All Stars) are taking over the world clogging up all of the roster spots.

        • Thomas says:

          Here is the problem with Ripken. His final 9 season he had a OPS+ of 96 and an average WAR of 2.4 (for the season). He made the ASG all 9 seasons and was not an AS caliber player for 8 of those season (based on the full season data, not the data at the time of the game).

          So while he may have been a future HOFer and it was a nice send off to put him in the ASG for his last season, those other 7 season he made because he was a popular, future HOF, who was at one time excellent, but now average.

        • A.D. says:

          In the case of Ripken there were plenty of years at the end he made the ASG and didn’t really deserve it.

          The issue I have with any exception’s on this is that where is the line. Now obviously Ripken was a clear 1st ballot hall of famer, but what about popular fringe players? What about not that popular a fringe player?

          Otherwise maybe I’ve missed it but we don’t see this in other sports, a player doesn’t make the pro-bowl, or 1st team all-NFL because he’s on his way out.

        • Rose says:

          Yeah you’re both right. I mean I was willing to make an exception just to do seeing an entertaining nostalgic send off on a special night. But I certainly wouldn’t object to that being veto’d or anything.

          I guess it would open the flood gates and certain players who may think they were as good as others – may get snubbed and all hell would break loose haha.

          • Thomas says:

            A good way to solve this might be to do a vote similar to the final player vote.

            Right now I think each team gets 33 players (way to many, but that is another argument). Let the manager/computer, pick the first 30 all stars. Then put a list together of like 15 popular players (future HOFers, great players with bad years, etc), and have the fans pick the final 3 players of each team from that list of 15.

            It would respect the greats that missed missed the team, it would form a team with the best 30 players in the league, and would allow for fan vote (right at the time of the ASG, not 20 games into the season).

            • Rose says:

              This is actually a pretty good idea.

              This way you reward the best performances AND you impliment some fan favorites in there via fan voting.

              Not bad.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      You just love spouting out SSS numbers as if they mean anything don’t you?

      • Rose says:

        I’m confused. Are you saying that the All Star Game Voting should be based on career numbers? Last years numbers?

        I’m sorry but I’m extremely confused.

    • JGS says:

      That was entertaining. It was fun, it was a nice sendoff, it was great that he hit a home run

      Also, being 2001, the game didn’t determine home field advantage in the WS

      Ripken actually did fine in the game, but say he cost the AL dearly and they lost the game. The home team won every game of the 2001 WS. You would be justifiably furious with Ripken and angry at the process that led him to be there over someone more deserving

      If the game is actually an exhibition, then the fans should vote and they can vote in whoever the hell they want. AS appearances shouldn’t then be given the weight they do by HOF voters, but that’s a rant for a different time

      If it’s not an exhibition, then it’s absurd that New York and Philadelphia get to stuff the ballot boxes for something that counts

  3. Beamish says:

    I filled out my ballot with Fangraphs sorted by position and wOBA, generally picking among the top 3 players at each position.

    That said, I still voted for Jeter at SS because a bad-season-stats Jeter starting the All-Star game will annoy Red Sox fans more than anyone else on the field. And I have to take my little pleasures where I can since the game will likely be crap.

    • Zack says:

      And fans everywhere had to see Varitek make the team (I know he was voted on by players but still shouldnt have been there)

  4. Rose says:

    Angels fans really hate the Yankees.;start=1

    Could be hearing a lot of boos there haha.

    • vin says:

      The only reason the Angels fans hate the Yankees so much is because when the two teams play out there, 20% of the crowd is Yankee fans – and we get on their nerves. I was at the Javy/Kazmir game this year. Every “Yankees Suck” or “Lets go Angels” chant began as the fans try to quell the “Let’s go Yankees” cheers. Every game I’ve seen there has been the same story. They have a very reactive fan base.

  5. Rose says:

    The only good thing about Tex being voted onto the All Star team is that Morneau will most certainly be voted on by the players…which may leave Kevin Youkilis and his .321/.457/.622/1.079 batting line home for the holidays…

    Although, I’m sure they’ll sneak him on there some how.

    • Zack says:

      They had Tex, Morneau, Pena, and Youk on the team last year. He’ll make it this year via player’s vote, Selig injury replacement, or the final vote.

  6. I’ve actually changed my mind on this… This conversation has taken place a few times and Moshe made the point, I thought pretty convincingly, that having home-field advantage for the WS be decided by the ASG is really no more arbitrary than basing it on a coin-flip, or alternating years. Yes, this way is arbitrary, but I’m not sure there’s any way to decide home-field advantage for the WS that wouldn’t be arbitrary.

    And, frankly, I think Selig has actually accomplished his goals in basing WS home-field advantage on the outcome of the ASG. The goals were, as far as I can tell, to get the participants in the game to care a little more, and to generate a little more fan interest. Even if the effect is minimal on the participants or is limited to those who think they have a realistic chance of playing in the WS in that given year, I think it probably does make them see the game through a bit more of a competitive lens. And as far as fans go… I can only speak for myself, and I really don’t care much about the ASG to being with, but I have to admit, in years past I would have been more prone to flipping around late in the game after I’d had my fill of players not giving a shit than I am today – now I want to see the end of the game because I want to know which league gets home-field advantage. I’m really not a Selig fan, but I think you have to give credit where it’s due.

    • Rose says:

      Also, home field advantage using the NBA’s or NHL’s 2-2-1-1-1 style might make home field advantage a little more important. While it’s certainly more important to have an extra game at home…I think having the 3 home games in the middle for the team that couldn’t earn home field advantage…is actually pretty good too. Great chance to get hot at the right time (see: 2004 ALCS)

    • Thomas says:

      I agree with this line of thought. I’ve never had a huge problem with the ASG deciding home field advantage. It may be a little arbitrary, but the AL has won all of the ASG since the rule was implemented and has been the better league during that stretch. Also, it is no less arbitrary than other methods. Plus, it is fun

      I think the problem is (as Ben pointed out) that if the ASG decides home field, then the best players at the time of the game should be playing. Fans pick too much based on popularity (e.g. Teixeira), the players sometimes pick based on respect/popularity (e.g. Varitek), and the managers make mistakes in their choices (specifically with homerism) and are forced to take a player from every team. Obviously, the writers shouldn’t be allowed to pick, so it makes it hard to decide how to make the team.

      The solution my roommate likes is by just setting up a computer program to select the most valuable based off of stats. This would be fair and work, but it would probably remove some of the excitement for the fans (lack of stars and favorites).

      It is sort of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.”

      • Chris says:

        The solution my roommate likes is by just setting up a computer program to select the most valuable based off of stats. This would be fair and work, but it would probably remove some of the excitement for the fans (lack of stars and favorites).

        Since someone will have to set up the program that defines every player’s value, it’s really not much different than having a group of experts pick the team. Maybe you’ll have different experts in the two cases, but it would basically amount to the same procedure.

        • Thomas says:

          I guess the difference would be the person creating the program would probably work for like baseball prospectus, fangraphs, Elias, etc. Whereas your “experts” are guy like Jon Heyman and John Kruk both who have skills, unfortunately those skill aren’t picking the best baseball players in the game/through a half season.

      • Rose says:

        but it would probably remove some of the excitement for the fans (lack of stars and favorites).

        This is the key right here. Every once in a while a Josh Hamilton is born…but if there are a bunch of Ben Zobrists and Nate McClouths running around…most people will just look for something else on tv.

        I mean look at Morneau for Christ’s sake. He’s dwarfing Mauer in every category known to mankind but since he’s not a media darling…several more people are voting for Mauer but not Morneau.

    • Kiersten says:

      Team with the better record gets home-field advantage. Seems pretty simple and obvious to me.

      • It’s still somewhat arbitrary, though. One team plays in one league, one in the other. If the Yanks win 95 games in the AL (the AL East, no less), and the Giants win 102 in the NL, why is it so perfectly fair and not arbitrary that the Giants get home-field advantage? Why are those 102 wins in the NL West more important than the 95 wins in the AL East?

        I get why people like this idea better, but I just keep coming back to one question… If granting WS home field advantage based on the ASG generates some more fan interest in the game, and it’s really not that much more arbitray than other ideas for how to grant WS home field advantage, is the current method bad enough that we want to take away the benefit it bestows on the ASG to fix it? I’m just not sure it is, but obviously that’s open for discussion. But the question isn’t just “which is the better way to determine WS home-field advantage,” in a vacuum – the effects on the ASG should be considered.

        • Kiersten says:

          Yeah, I understand that, it just seems less arbitrary than all of the other methods. I mean what if last year the Yankees, who were clearly the best team in MLB, didn’t have home-field? I understand this has happened to other teams in the past, but it just doesn’t seem right. Also, I think the rule that the wild card team can never have home-field is stupid, but that’s a whole other argument.

          Does the WS home-field advantage really generate more fan interest? Like, has it made more money than it had in the past? I feel like I still care equally about the ASG today as I did in 2001.

          • I don’t know, that last question is certainly up for debate. Like I’ve said a couple of times, I can only speak for myself, but it definitely has increased my interest in the game (from almost non-existent to less non-existent). And I can’t imagine I would have been as happy to sit in YS2 for 15 innings in 2008 if that game’s outcome had no consequences.

        • Jim Walewander says:

          Why not base home field advantage in the World Series on which league wins more games in interleague play? That seems much less arbitrary than basing the results on one game in which 30 different players get rotated in per side.

          Yeah, you have the worst teams in the league participating in the result, but you can say the league as a whole won the advantage by beating the other league in head-to-head play.

          Sure, that would take SOME interest away from the All-Star game. But I’d rather have World Series home field advantage based on games that teams play to win than an exhibition game whose flaws you guys have clearly spelled out.

          Plus, that last interleague game in 2004 would have generated some interest.

          • It’s not a bad idea at all, just like Kiersten’s idea… But I’m not sure how this idea is all that much different or better than basing home-field advantage on the ASG. I mean… Games between the Orioles and Astros are going to be relevant under that system.

            • Jim Walewander says:

              Yeah, no doubt it would be strange to have some bad teams factor into the result, but shouldn’t that even out, in theory?

              Do interleague results really reflect the better league for that year? I’m not qualified to say. I do like that it would be a MUCH larger sample size in awarding home-field advantage than one game.

    • Home field advantage in World Series should go to the team that had the better regular season record.

      And, why do you want people to care about the ASG? Wouldn’t you rather see the occasional eephus pitch, between the legs fielding play or Jeter hitting lefty?

      What other sport does the All-Star Game count for anything?

      • It’s not about what I want, it’s about what best serves MLB’s interests.

        And no, I do not want to see Derek Jeter batting lefty in the ASG. (And I don’t get the point of that part of your comment… We weren’t seeing eephus pitches and between the legs fielding plays and batters batting from the wrong side of the plate before the ASG determined WS home-field advantage.)

  7. A.D. says:

    A pre-season coin toss would be just as arbitrary.

    So why not just have the game count then? If anything this would be a case for having the game count, in my mind.

  8. Chris says:

    I disagree somewhat about the bad voting. I don’t think that the only thing that should count is how hot someone starts off the year. Since the All-Star game is mid-season, the players voted on to the team should be based on the second half of the previous season and then first half of the current season. Players that are slow starters (like Tex, although this year isn’t a great example) get shafted in favor of guys that start out fast.

    Here are some OPS splits for 1B:

    Teixeira: 1st Half: .869 2nd Half: .968
    Youkilis: 1st Half: .930 2nd Half: .832
    Morneau: 1st Half: .932 2nd Half: .791

    Why should Morneau and Youkilis get additional All-Star votes simply because they get hot at the least important time of the season?

    • Zack says:

      And why should Tex be rewarded for his performance in 2009 when this is the 2010 All-Star game? Seems like you’re just trying to find a way to justify Tex being on the team.

      And the other question goes back to why is a game in September more important than April?

      • Chris says:

        It’s the “2010 All-Star Game”, not the “First Half of 2010 All-Star Game”. I don’t think Tex deserves to make it this year, but I wouldn’t have any issues with Jeter making it. Per Fangraphs, he’s 3rd in the AL in WAR behind Alex Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus (0.9 vs 1.3 and 1.2). Jeter’s struggled this year, but I’m also confident that right now he’s significantly better than Alex Gonzalez and probably better than Elvis Andrus.

        As for why September is more important than April, it’s the same reason that the 9th inning is more important than the first: leverage. The difference between innings is not as significant as the MSM likes to make it, but the end of games (and end of seasons) are more important than the beginning.

        • Zack says:

          It’s not the “Second Half of 2009 and First Half of 2010 All Star Game” either.

          Sure, no problem with Jeter on the team as a reserve, should he start and play 6-7 innings? Nope.

          So if you go 5-15 in September, that hurt your overall record the same, less, or more than going 5-15 in April?

          • Chris says:

            So if you go 5-15 in September, that hurt your overall record the same, less, or more than going 5-15 in April?

            Maybe. Leverage can work both ways. If the race is close, then you can do things in September (like start Sabathia on 3 days rest) that you wouldn’t do in April. In April, you’re going to give your players regular rest because there is a long season to go, while you wouldn’t do that if you’re in a close race. On the other side, if you’re out of the race early, then you can sell pieces to prepare for next season. If you’re up big, you can give your players extra time off to keep them fresh. It’s not always beneficial to be better later in the season, but there is a slight benefit overall.

            Also, I would think that second half performance is a better proxy for playoff performance than first half performance (since you generally can’t rely on playoff numbers because they are such a small sample size).

            should he start and play 6-7 innings? Nope.

            Why not? He’s probably the best SS in the AL this year, despite his early season struggles.

            It’s not the “Second Half of 2009 and First Half of 2010 All Star Game” either.

            Ok. So base it off expected performance for the second half of 2010. I just hate to see scrubs play in the All-Start game just because they get lucky and happen to hit 10 HR in April/May.

            • Zack says:

              You made fair points, but none of them answered my question.

              Except he’s not the best SS in teh AL this year. And if the ASG determines home field advantage, the players who are having the best seasons should play, because they give their league the best chance to win.

              And I hate to just see veterans play because they play on a big market team, are more “gritty” than other players, or because they have RBIs. You call it luck, I call it playing better.

              • Chris says:

                And if the ASG determines home field advantage, the players who are having the best seasons should play, because they give their league the best chance to win.

                The best players should play. No necessarily the players that are having the best season. Who’s the better hitter – Cervelli or A-Rod? Cervelli is having the better season, but A-Rod is clearly the better hitter. Just because someone plays well for 2-3 months doesn’t mean they are a better player, and in particular it doesn’t mean that they would be more likely to perform better in the All-Star game.

                I also dislike undeserving players making the team (because of grit or their market, etc), but I also hate myopically focusing on the first three months of the season and assuming that really defines how good a player they are.

                • Zack says:

                  I dont believe I said 2-3 months of performance means someone is better. But it does determine who is having a better season so far.

                  Unless Tex suddenly starts raking, he shouldn’t be in the top 10 of 1B options for the 2010 ASG. Doesn’t mean he’s not better than other 1Bs, but he is not performing at an elite level in 2010, thus he should be on the team that determines home field advantage, because he does not give that team the best chance to win.

  9. To everyone who bemoans what we consider the poor results of ASG voting, I ask, who cares? Unless and until you can describe to me some perfect system for picking the best ASG participants possible, and why the criteria you used to pick those participants are necessarily the absolute best way to choose those participants, I think we all have to calm down with the annual ASG voting coniption fits. If you have a problem with the voting, tell me how you’d fix it. What time period are we basing the voting on? Just the first couple of months of the current season, or going back to the halfway point of the preceding season, or careers, or what? What other facts are we taking into account? And, if you have all that worked out (and not arbitrarily, I’m talking about working it out in some way that is convincing that your way is the only best way), then tell us why your way better accomplishes the goals of MLB isn putting on this exhibition in the first place. Are more fans going to watch? Are we going to create more fan interest in team-selection and the game itself by taking the vote away from the fans?

    It’s a freaking exhibition game put on to give the sport some exposure, put on a good show for the fans, and make a little money. Let’s stop acting like it’s a capital crime if/when players we find undeserving get voted into the game.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      This. The whole thing.

    • Zack says:

      It’s not an exhibition game, it determines home field advantage.
      -That’s like having pre-season records determining tie-breakers at the end of the season.

      It’s not a crime that undeserving players get voted into the game.
      -But if the game determines home field advantage, why are better players sitting at home because they have a smaller fan base or because they are not gritty enough in the eyes of fans?

      • Your first point addresses an issue not addressed in this comment, but that I addressed in my other comment, above. Having a problem with the ASG determining WS home-field advantage is a separate issue. Are you saying you wouldn’t have a problem with the ASG determining WS home-field advantage if you were happier with the composition of the ASG teams?

        As far as your second point… Because that’s life, I don’t know what else to tell you. The game is put on for the fans, to generate interest in the game and get butts in the seats and eyeballs on TV sets.

        Is this system perfect? No, I’m certainly not arguing that it is. But balance the interests here, people. We’re not ONLY looking to find the best way to determine home-field advantage (which, it seems, in many of your minds, would mean fixing what you think is wrong with the ASG selection process), we’re looking for a way to determine WS homefield advantage and also accomplishes MLB’s goals in putting on the ASG in the first place – create/spur fan interest in the game.

        • Zack says:

          No it would still bug me, I don’t believe one game of stars should determine which league gets home field advantage.

          So if you can’t explain it then “that’s life”?

          So having an ASG that means something increases fan interest? For what? 1 game? So MLB can get 1 more beer sponsor for a 3 hour game? Is someone suddenly going to go buy tickets because they saw an undeserving Tex start this year’s ASG?

          • If the WS home field advantage thing would still bug you even if the best players were in the game, then I don’t really get the point of disliking the current method of team-selection, in this context. You seemed to be making the point, above, that the method of team selection bothers you because this game determines home-field advantage.

            So if that’s not what you meant, then is it just that important to you that the guys who had the best few months to start the season get into this exhibition game?

            Yes, that’s life. Sometimes we have to find compromise positions in life that don’t fully satisfy us. The current system may not be perfect but it accomplishes MLB’s goals, so that’s life.

            As far as fan interest… Like I said above, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, it does increase interest in the game. I really couldn’t have cared much less about this game a few years ago, and now I care about it just enough that even if I don’t watch it the whole way through, I’ll keep checking back in and I’ll be sure to catch the last inning or two. So are people buying tickets because a star they like is playing in the game? I don’t know, maybe. But what I can say is that the current system does generate a bit more interest than would a system in which the game meant absolutely nothing and the players the fans most want to see aren’t in the game.

            • Zack says:

              Ok then I mis-worded that.

              If it didn’t mean home field advantage, I would care less about the voting for the All Star game. I don’t determine who are the best players based on if they get selected to the ASG game or not, “Oh he was a 6x All Star, while this guy was only there twice.”

              Since it DOES determine home field advantage, I believe the players having the best season so far should be there. I dont believe fans’ voting should play a role in who fields the best team, sorry.

              “So are people buying tickets because a star they like is playing in the game?”
              Did the ASG have trouble selling tickets prior to making the game count?And if you watch more, or if I watch the same, obvious not fair arguments to whether or not the ASG is working or not.

              • “And if you watch more, or if I watch the same, obvious not fair arguments to whether or not the ASG is working or not.”

                Would you mind clarifying this point? (Not meant in a snarky way, I djust don’t really get what you’re getting at here, maybe I’m just missing something.)

                • Zack says:

                  “But what I can say is that the current system does generate a bit more interest than would a system in which the game meant absolutely nothing and the players the fans most want to see aren’t in the game.”

                  I was just questioning that point. Sure, people are talking/debating about it more, but is that “increasing interest.” Is there ratings to show that once the game started to count that boosted ratings?

                  • Ratings initially, after the rule was implemented, continued their downward trend, but have since bounced back a bit in the last 4 years or so. Inconclusive. (Not to mention there are legitimate questions about how accurate the ratings are, whether a drop or rise in the ratings would mean anything or whether we’d be better off doing a more sophisticated analysis, etc.)

                    I’ll amend my earlier statement, if it helps: I would be surprised to learn that the current system has not generated at least some more fan-interest (and player-competitiveness) in the ASG.

                    • Zack says:

                      I’d agree that it probably has generate some more fan-interest, but is that number really worth affecting the world series? (No right or wrong answer, to each their own. IMO, making the ASG count didnt ‘save’ baseball or push baseball into a new level, so really it’s affecting the WS for nothing but another commercial during the game and discussion on talk shows.)

                    • Yeah, then you’re getting into the other question, about whether this is a good or bad way to determine home-field advantage. No need to rehash that again, it’s been discussed all over this thread.

        • A few ideas I think would improve the ASG:

          -every run scored can be taken away if the hitter’s wife cannot defeat the pitcher’s wife in a 5-minute round of jello-pool wrestling

          -Bud Selig must participate in a Running of the Sausages race

          -Sammy Sosa powerpoint presentation on skin care

          -One inning of “Old Timers”

          -Joe Morgan powerpoint presentation of sabermetrics

          -Sack races. Kids love that shit.

          This solves all of the problems. You’re welcome.

    • Chris says:

      What about each team selecting an assistant-GM and having all those people from each team get together to discuss and select the teams?

      These guys are actually be involved in evaluating talent and putting together the best team they can, so they should have the right skills to do this.

      Even better might be selecting an assistant-GM from each of the playoff teams from the prior season. That way you would only get representatives from teams that were actually successful in evaluating baseball players. The downside to this is that the team would be heavy with players from those teams (not completely bad since that will happen anyway).

      • Well, first of all, there are plenty of F.O. people out there who don’t know what the hell they’re doing. See: Kansas City Royals.

        Also… You’re eliminating the fan-voting, which is in place to generate interest in the game. I don’t think you can do that, MLB has an interest in generating as much fan interest as they can.

    • Thomas says:

      How about this which I listed above:

      A good way to solve this might be to do a vote similar to the final player vote.

      Right now I think each team gets 33 players (way to many, but that is another argument). Let the manager/computer/assistant GM, pick the first 30 all stars. Then put a list together of like 15 popular players (future HOFers, great players with bad years, etc) that missed the team, and have the fans pick the final 3 players of each team from that list of 15.

      It would respect the greats that missed missed the team, it would form a team with the best 30 players in the league, and would allow for fan vote (right at the time of the ASG, not 20 games into the season).

      • Maybe. You’re still pretty much eliminating the fan vote, though. Yes, the fans still vote, but under the current system, the fans vote for basically the entire first-half of the season while under yours they’ll vote for, like, a few days. They also won’t be able to vote for their own guys – fans who don’t have a horse in that ‘final-3′ race probably won’t be too interested in participating.

        • Thomas says:

          You could do it that each team has one of the 15 players to vote from. Teh it would sort of be like the “Vote for the ‘stache campaign”, but now for every team.

          It wouldn’t be my first choice since I don’t think every team has a deserving player, but it could be fun and workwork.

          Also, it may not be a perfect system, but it may be better than the present one.

        • One more point… I get why people are spitballing the ‘let the front-office people have more control over ASG team selection’ idea, but I think you’d be opening a few cans of worms that we’re not really considering here. First of all, to repeat the point I made above, some front-office people aren’t all that effective at evaluating talent. In addition – front-office guys have their own set of built-in biases and motivations. Who’s to say some of them won’t push for their own players because of the money/exposure it’ll make the team? Who’s to say that, on the contrary, some of them will ask the other voters to NOT vote for their players because they don’t want to give those players more ammo in upcoming contract negotiations? Not to mention the fact that if/when a team’s fanbase thinks their guy got shafted, their front office guy is going to be absolutely crucified by the local fans/media.

          Just some things to consider. I really don’t think putting front office guys in charge of team selection would necessarily be such a magic cure-all.

          • Thomas says:

            Yeah, I agree with this now. I had just seen the other person’s idea and went with it before your rebuttal. At the time, I was thinking that the GM people would all be good, but that is because I am spoiled with Cashman. Other fans are so lucky. I’d prefer either all computers or at least a manager with a computer aiding him heavily.

            But you are definitely right about the GMs and assistants not always being good.

    • Rose says:

      Why not have the manager of each team pick their squad like they did when it first began? The problem here lies in the fans interest. The whole reason the fans vote is so the players on the field are people who the majority wanted to see.

      As I said above…a team full of Ben Zobrists and Nate McClouths doesn’t appeal to the public like Derek Jeter and others. Although, ironically the same people who are supposed to benefit from this procedure are those who complain about it.

      The grass is always greener on the other side.

    • A.D. says:

      To everyone who bemoans what we consider the poor results of ASG voting, I ask, who cares?

      As a fan of the game I care, just like I care when the Yankees do poorly or they make poor decisions in my mind.

      Otherwise I’m sure the players with ASG bonuses in their contracts care, and that potentially miss out on better contracts and status (either bonuses, leverage in contract negotiations, HOF resume) also care.

      tell me how you’d fix it.

      Do what they do with pitchers…and not have the fans vote.

      • Ok, but you’ve neglected to take into account any of the other points under discussion here and address them. Would your system accomplish the goal of creating more fan interest in the game?

        And yes, we all care because we’re baseball fans, that old cliched answer applies to every single thread here and certainly applies to this thread. What I mean is… Is this important enough an issue that we need to have a collective freak-out about it every year? And are the things you’re unhappy with important enough that they override the other interests at play here, such as creating as much fan interest in the game as is possible?

        • A.D. says:

          See it’s tough for me to say in terms of “fan interest”. I can & do look up, who the best offensive players are in a given year, and thus it annoys me when non-deserving players do make the game. If they got rid of voting all together, it wouldn’t change my interest at all, and could only increase it, so for me, yes I would find it the most interesting without the vote, as these players have been picked on batting stats, WAR, etc and thus maybe I didn’t know they’re crushing the ball, but I do now, and I want to see them play vs watching someone with a name brand that may not be putting up good numbers.

          Otherwise sure the baseball fan answer is cliched, but so is the “should we really care” question is a cliche as this is all a game played for entertainment, which none of us have an actual stake in, so realistically should we get worked up about anything about baseball at all?

          Net in net, the voting annoys me, and thus I’ll voice it, personally I’d prefer the team being picked on statistics or if need be those in the game (slight shudder), while it will have it’s flaws, it will also be more likely to get it correct then the fans do. Personally I’d find that more interesting and it could only add to my enjoyment of the game.

          • Point 1 – Certainly up for discussion. Like I said in a comment above, I would be surprised if this ASG scenario hasn’t somewhat increased interest, but obviously I can’t prove that it has.

            Point 2 – I already amended that statement when I responded to you, not sure why you’re rehashing it. Yes, we all care. I just think some people care way too much about this particular issue and I don’t think their reasons for caring so much withstand scrutiny, and obviously that’s just my two-cents.

            Point 3 – Debateable… As has been discussed elsewhere in the thread, sure, IF this sytem doesn’t create interest, and IF there’s a better way to choose the players, they should go for it. But I definitely don’t think there’s some fool-proof system out there. I think the players would be AWFUL at choosing the team, and I think there are problems involved with the front offices choosing the team.

            Frankly… They’ve been doing fan-voting for a long time now, so I have to think that MLB thinks it’s creating more fan interest, or else I don’t think they’d bother with it. I get that we don’t know how much interests it creates, but I have a hard time accepting the argument that it doesn’t create any interest at all. I similarly have a strong hunch that the WS home-field thing creates some interest, but that’s been going on for a lot less time, so whatever… No way to know, I guess.

            • A.D. says:

              The problem, as we will probably always get to in this discussion is we have no way of knowing, we cannot really run the scenario of fan voting vs no fan voting. Perhaps if there was info on if the Pro-Bowl viewing went up as they added some fan voting into the mix, but given lack of attendance by selected players & the nature of the game being difficult to plug some stars together may not make it a good comp.

              Personally I know I’d only be more interested in the ASG if fan voting was done away with, but that may not be the case for all.

              • See, I don’t find it surprising at all that you would be more interested if fan voting were done away with. I just think there are a lot more uninformed fans out there who probably are more interested due to the fan voting than there are educated fans who want the best teams on the field. I get why you want the best players in the game, I just think you’re not representative of the larger baseball fan community which makes up most of MLB’s target audience.

                • A.D. says:

                  Agreed, which is why I said hard for me to say what it would do for the interest in the game initially. Maybe it really does it for the avg fan to see some brand name they know.

                  • I think it does… I mean… Just a hypothetical. Take hockey, since that’s a sport most of us are casual fans of (if we’re fans at all). Say next year Crosby/Ovechkin/[insert big star] are hurt for a good portion of the first half and probably don’t deserve to be in the ASG. Are more people likely to watch the NHL ASG if Crosby/Ovechkin/etc. are in the game anyway, or if they’re not? The average fans wants to see the brand-names, that’s why they vote for them.

  10. Ed says:

    I don’t have a problem with the way the fan voting works. Remember, the voting starts April 22nd. If you’re voting early, you have about 2.5 weeks of the season to base your decision on. You can’t make much of an evaluation of players based on that. Yet you’re expected to. You have to look back and factor in past performance.

    In Tex’s case in particular, basing the decision solely on his April/May stats would mean he would never deserve to be anywhere near an All Star Team, despite the fact that he usually ends the season with numbers good enough to be in the MVP discussion. Likewise, Jeter had an insanely good 2009, so it’s not at all absurd for the early 2010 voting to have him in the lead.

    One last point – expecting All Star voting and WAR totals to correlate is just going to set you up for disappointment. Even at an advanced stat heavy site like RAB, you’ve got a lot of people that don’t really understand/believe in stats like WAR. Most people voting on the game probably think AVG is one of the best stats.

    • “Remember, the voting starts April 22nd.”

      We also need to remember that we’re evaluating the voting on May 26. I feel like every year there are freak-outs about the results of the fan voting in May, and by the time the ASG teams are actually selected, a good portion of what we consider to be the funky voting results (in May) have been fixed. Let the Twins fans and Sox fans get outraged that Tex is leading at 1B and start their ‘vote for our guy’ campaign, and then we’ll see how it turns out. Unless Tex goes on a ridiculous tear, I highly doubt he’ll wind up as the ASG starter. I’m actually really interested to see how it turns out, my hunch isd that when all is said and done the 1B voting will work itself out and we’ll have freaked out about nothing.

      • Ed says:

        Another good point.

        Reminds me of when Tino Martinez was leading the voting in June ’05. I don’t think he was even close to the lead in the end.

  11. Tampa Yankee says:

    Bravo (safe)

  12. Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

    i hope no yankees go to the allstar game so there is no chancwe of them getting hurt. i hope no yankees participate in the hr derby so there s no chance of it messing with their swing. I want all of them to be home relaxing for those 3 days off resting for the second half. the all star game means nothing compared to the real games and I honestly hope every yr that no one from the team is selected.

  13. Steve H says:

    I think another problem with having the game count is that you don’t necessarily take the best players, you take the players having the best season. I think the players having the best season obviously deserve to be All-Stars, but if home field in the World Series depends on one game, I want the better player, not the one currently having the better season. For instance, Alex Gonzalez (the player) is having a better season than Derek Jeter. If I had my choice to put in the lineup for a game that could mean Game 1 of the World Series is played at YSIII, I’m taking Jeter 100 times out of 100. Doug Fister currently has a 2.03 ERA. CC has a 3.86 ERA. By the metrics used to determine All-Star selections, Fister has a better chance (as of now) of being an All-Star. That’s fine with me. What’s not fine with me is relying on Doug Fister for home field while CC sits at home.

  14. JGS says:

    I think Cruz deserves to be there–he lost enough time that he doesn’t qualify for rate stats but even with that his WAR is higher than Crawford’s (and second in the league among outfielders)–if WAR is used as a rate stat, his is actually even higher than Morneau’s, and is thus probably the best in the Majors. We are still far enough from the game that he will qualify for rate stats again by the Break, and even with a decline, he is having an All-Star season

    yes, he has a gargantuan home/road split, but an .823 road OPS isn’t terrible, and when your home OPS is over 1.400, it’ll do

  15. Pete says:

    I think the GMs should vote rather than the fans

  16. Kiersten says:

    My problem isn’t so much with the popularity contest voting, the starters really only play 2-3 innings anyway and the pitchers aren’t chosen by the fans. It’s not like the people, for the most part, pick anyone who’s bad. I mean, sure Tex and Jeter aren’t putting up all-star numbers this season, but they’re both top players in the game and capable of producing in an All-Star game.

    My problem is with the rule that every team must have a representative. If the All-Star Game counts, then managers shouldn’t be forced to put inferior players on their team just to make sure each team is represented. Sorry, but if your team doesn’t have anyone good enough to be an all-star, then that’s just too bad.

  17. Mike Axisa says:

    Did anyone see the NL voting? The position leaders are five Phillies, two Cardinals, and Ryan Braun.

  18. Riddering says:

    I want Pat Burrell to be the starting DH.

    • yankthemike says:

      isn’t he like 4th in the voting so far? how can that be? dumb philly fans who still think he’s on their team?

      • bexarama says:

        1. Vlad (scary home/road splits so far, but probably deserves this)
        2. Matsui (doing HORRIBLY so far)
        3. Ken Griffey Jr. (very popular though IIRC he hasn’t been to an ASG in years, but not legally alive)
        4. Pat Burrell (lol wut)
        5. David Ortiz (very popular, on a team with a huge fanbase, actually hitting)

  19. yankthemike says:

    I haven’t read all the comments and maybe someone has mentioned this already, but perhaps they shouldn’t open the voting until late June to get a better idea of who is actually deserving of the vote. I tend to vote for any Yankee that i think is worthy-( the infield except for jorge). as far an my NL votes I really do try to vote for who i think are the very best at their position.

  20. Marsha says:

    I haven’t read all the comments either but how about eliminating both the ASG counting for anything and the fan voting?

  21. Bobby's World says:

    Dude you got to be kidding about Andrus over Jeter.Other than the avg Jeter has more hits,2b,hr and rbi’s.Come on man wake up.

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