Carney column: Baseball’s All-Star voting system is broken
If we learned anything from Sunday evening’s official announcement of the American League and National League’s All-Star rosters, it’s that the voting system for the players is fundamentally broken.
The fans who voted online nailed the starters for the most part, but the players seemed to blow it, which is stunning.
More often than not, the players send the most deserving guys, whereas the fan voting system becomes a popularity contest.
Not this year.
This year, the fans got almost all of the starters — sans Bryce Harper and his .219 batting average in the NL, but the players got it wrong. Way wrong.
Somehow, Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell isn’t an All-Star. Snell owns the best ERA (2.09) in the American League, is second in the league in wins (12), has the third-lowest opponents batting average (.183) in baseball, and has the third-most quality starts in the league (14). Shockingly, he was left out of the reserve roster, making for one of the biggest snubs in All-Star selection history.
Following Snell’s snub, Houston Justin Verlander responded to a tweet from Chris Archer, Snell’s teammate in Tampa Bay, talking about the voting process. Verlander had this to say: “Also, because we vote waaay too early. Could easily punch in our votes on an iPad a couple days before instead of the old school envelope weeks before.”
The fact that baseball still asks for players to vote via envelope is dumbfounding. It’s 2018, for crying out loud!
Aside from the mailed-in voting system, the need for each team to have an All-Star at this point is ridiculous. It’s the All-Star Game. Enough with the participation trophy for bad teams. That’s not a knock on players coming from bad teams, like Toronto’s JA Happ, or Detroit’s Joe Jimenez, but neither of those guys are deserving of an All-Star bid, aside from their team needing to send at least one representative in the name of fairness.
The All-Star game should be a stage for the game’s best players to showcase themselves, all teams be damned. I say that as a Pittsburgh Pirates diehard fan who had to watch guys like Evan Meek, Mike Williams and Jack Wilson represent the Pirates in the early 2000s as “all stars” just so that the Pirates had one player there to represent the club. It’s pointless, and it needs to be changed.
Instead of focusing on pace of play, pitch clocks, and other needless rule changes, maybe MLB Commission Rob Manfred should take a look at the easy rule changes staring him in the face, starting with the Midsummer Classic. Maybe, just maybe, viewership of the annual All-Star Game will trend back in the right direction.
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