Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All-Star voting privilege should be stripped from fans


Nothing against Alfonso Soriano — he seems like a nice guy — but there's no way he should be in contention for a starting spot in next month's All-Star Game.

No friggin' way.

Yet with fan voting wrapping up this week, that's still a possibility. At last glance, the Cubs outfielder -- who's batting .232 and has a horrid .296 OBP -- was just 27,000 votes behind the Mets' Carlos Beltran for the final starting spot in the National League outfield.

While Beltran has been a bit limited by injury, he's still batting .336 and has an OBP of .425 to go along with 29 extra-base hits -- just two fewer than Soriano's 31. How, I ask, is this a contest?

It's simple, really: The fans are allowed to vote.

And not once, or twice, or seven times ... but 25 times. Don't tell me there aren't thousands of Cubbies fans from Augusta, Maine, to San Diego who have voted 25 times to put their beloved, hopping-and-skipping outfielder in St. Louis' green grass along with the much more deserving Raul Ibanez and Ryan Braun.

Do I blame the fans? Well, yes and no.

Yes for being idiots. No, because they're simply being, well, fans -- supporting their team and players even when it doesn't make sense.

This, really, is why Bud Selig and his friends need to stop this silliness. Strip fans of voting privileges.

Instead, leave it up to the writers and other media folks who follow the game objectively. And continue to let the managers pick the subs. It's not complicated.

Fans will still love the game. Fans will continue to revere the players. Heck, if baseball can survive each time a star player is discovered to have used PEDs, I'm sure it'd be fine after this change.

And the All-Star Game would be better off because of it. The rosters would be about as legitimate as possible, meaning each team would have its best grouping of players to attempt to win the game and grab the league home-field advantage in the World Series.

If Bud and his boys are going to continue to let the fans vote, then the home-field thing needs to go by the wayside. Have the home-run derby, play the game, everyone enjoy themselves.

But don't turn it into something with meaning when guys like Soriano are playing instead of solid, deserving players like the Phillies' Jayson Werth (.271 BA, .364 OBP, 29 extra-base hits).

Hey, baseball's got a problem. What's new?

This one, though, would be easy to fix.

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