I saw this tweet the other day and honestly, it made me sick.
The fact that Tatis is even on the ballot is a disgrace. Don’t get me wrong, Nando is one of the faces of the league at this point in his career, especially with our younger generation of fans. The guy is an electric player and a difference maker for the San Diego Padres… WHEN HE’S ACTUALLY PLAYING! Tatis has missed the entire season thus far with a broken wrist that he sustained in a March motorcycle accident in the DR, with a timetable to return to swinging a bat in about two weeks. We could probably plan on seeing him return the week after the All-Star Break, maybe in their first home-stand against the Twins.
But this All Star voting update man… Tatis is in 5th place among all NL Shortstops and he hasn’t played a game? Why are we doing this as fans? What’s the point? Tatis is going to be a perennial All-Star in his career. Voting for him while he’s injured isn’t going to change that, and neither is NOT voting for him. Voting for a guy who is injured is absolutely pointless. They aren’t going to play in the game, even if they’re voted a ”starter”, and the worst part about it to me is that it could be taking a vote or a place on the team away from a guy who actually deserves it.
My solution to the fans: GO VOTE FOR PLAYERS YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE ARE ALL-STARS, NOT JUST THE ”STARS” OF THE GAME. WATCH MORE BASEBALL. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE OR HELP THE GAME GROW. VOTE FOR PLAYERS IN SMALL MARKETS WHO HAVE ACTUALLY PLAYED A GAME THIS SEASON. BE. BETTER. THAN. THIS.
MY solution for MLB: To me, MLB needs to change their criteria to even be on the ballot. All-Star voting began on June 8th. What they should be doing is taking a look at the amount of games played up to that point in the season. After June 8th, the average amount of games played by MLB teams was 60, with the lowest being the Mets (54), and highest being the Padres (63). Due to rainouts and unpredictable weather, especially on the east coast and teams in northern climates, we can’t necesaarily say that a player should only be eligible if they’ve played in X amount of games.
However, a percentage criteria may be better. I believe a player should be able to appear on the All-Star ballot if they have played in at-least 50% of their teams’ games. Even if they hit that exact halfway point by June 8th, count ’em in. But for someone to have played in zero, 0, ABSOLUTELY NONE of their teams’ games this season and still be on the All-Star ballot representing their franchise is absurd.
I also believe there is some validity in the halfway (or more) criteria. (Certainly more validity than having played zero games…). At the 60 game point in the season, if we have seen you play in at least a 30 games, I think it’s quite easy to determine whether or not someone is an all-star. I actually think 50% is being a bit generous, but it’s a starting point.
The Curious Case of Players Injured Post-Ballot Opening
Now, what do we do about players who happen to suffer an unfortunate injury after that June 8th ballot opening? Cases in point: Ozzie Albies (injured on June 13th), Bryce Harper (injured on June 25th).
I know, I know, we vote for All-Star Reserves. But MLB has to have advanced enough technology to remove injured players from the ballot entirely if they know for sure that they will not be able to play in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game, and keep this thing completely up to date, with no reserves needed.
By the way, Albies is currently 2nd in Second Baseman voting and Harper is currently leading NL Designated Hitters by an extremely wide margin at 1.7 million.
At this point, slide Jeff McNeil, who is currently in 3rd place, up to the 2nd spot, so he can become an All-Star starter (if the vote stands through the deadline), bring up Contreras and Pujols to the 1 and 2 spots for DH, as well as any other roster spots that suddenly become available due to an injured player. Continue to update the list that until the final few days of the voting process so we have the most accurate depiction of what we’re going to see in LA.
The bottom line is that this fan vote is just a popularity contest. Fans are mainly voting for the biggest stars in the league, who we all know are stars. These guys don’t need All-Star game votes to know that they’re all-stars. The votes they receive also aren’t bringing them back from injury any faster. It won’t hurt their reputation or legacy if they were to be taken off the ballot due to injury. Give the younger guys a chance.
Honestly, I feel bad for Didi Gregorious as the 6th place guy in the NL Shortstop voting. Could have been a 5 spot guy but you’re losing to a guy who hasn’t stepped foot on a field this season. You hate to see it.