Vote early. Vote often.
Every year, Major League Baseball berates its fans with advertisements encouraging them to select the All-Star game starters, seemingly starting earlier each and every year. This year, the ballot opened on April 24th. Opening day was April 3rd.
How anyone can know who is going to be playing at an All-Star level a mere 21 days into the season is a mystery to me, and shows the whole world that Major League Baseball just doesn’t care about who starts the All-Star game. The league lets fans vote up to twenty-five times a day, encouraging fans to only vote for members of their own team by promoting giveaways like discounted tickets for voting.
Last year, the Kansas City Royals had almost seven starters in the All-Star game (until Major League Baseball disqualified 65 million votes for voting fraud). This year, Cubs fans have similarly stuffed the ballots, and as of the fifth ballot update, the entire starting infield (plus one outfielder) will hail from the North Side of Chicago. Apparently, the baseball population finds shortstop Addison Russell’s slash line of .236/ 7/40 (average/homeruns/RBI) to be far better than Trevor Story’s sensational rookie line of .271/19/50. Clearly, we should really stop trusting that the general population will vote for what’s best.
But really, does any of this matter? Who cares if five Cubs players start in the All-Star game – if their fans really want to spend all of their time voting for the All-Star game, then why shouldn’t their players be starting? This line of thinking would be logical if the All-Star game meant nothing (like it should). In 2002, the All-Star game ended in a 7-7 tie through 11 innings after both teams ran out of pitchers. To ensure this would never happen again, Commissioner Bud Selig decided that the All-Star game should determine home field advantage for the World Series. This would make for a more entertaining All-Star game, but is also a ridiculously idiotic way to determine something so crucial. An All-Star game, with starting rosters constructed entirely by which fan base can stuff the ballot box the most, single-handedly decides which team gets to play Game 7 of the World Series in their home ballpark. Most of the players in the World Series will have nothing to do with the All-Star game, yet Major League Baseball decided this one, previously-meaningless game, should be the end-all deciding factor. How anyone can think this is a good idea is beyond me.
Unfortunately, this rule isn’t going to change anytime soon. So if you’re a fan of a team with World Series hopes this year, you better hope your side is voting for the best possible players. So no, it is not in your best interest to only vote for your favorite players- you should really vote for the players who are having the best season. Actually, now that I think about, it might be in your best interest to try and get the other league to field the worst possible team.
So yes: vote early, vote often, and vote awful for the other league. That’s the only smart thing to do.