The Boston Red Sox fans may participate in the ugly tradition of ignoring the competent and voting for the incompetent for the All-Star team. He’s hoping RSN shows its intelligence to vote only deserving favorites.
The 2018 All-Star ballot is now released and like some ward boss in Chicago waking the dead or intoxicated, you can vote multiple times. Up to 35 votes! Baseball is not a democracy when it comes to ballot issues and encourages ballot stuffing. That, quite naturally, leads me to believe that some should be cut for the herd. Forever removed from voting in any baseball election.
The most notable case of ballot stuffing happened in 1957 when the Cincinnati Reds fans voted their team into the All-Star Game. Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Stan Musial were excluded for a brief moment in time. The culprit was – no surprise – the media. A long bankrupt newspaper and a radio station were implicated. I do not believe the station was WKRP.
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Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in a rare moment of a commissioner actually responding to a situation stepped in. Several Reds players were dismissed from the adult’s table and the ballot was removed from the fans. To this day I question the collective baseball wisdom of the father’s, mother’s, and grandparents of the Reds fan base.
I have no issue with the ballot per say since it is similar to the baseball Hall of Fame ballot where just about every player with ten years service and a pulse gets listed. Eventually, they are weaned away and you have a list that can be debated. The All-Star ballot list virtually the entire lineup from each team and the judicious selection process for the starting eight becomes fan responsibility.
Vote for your favorite Red Sox player.
With the current All-Star ballot, it is not who is listed but how they will get votes. Vote for your favorite Red Sox player? That was prominently displayed on the Red Sox website. What if your favorite is not deserving? Let’s take the catching position. The Red Sox have Christian Vazquez as their entry. If Vaz gets even one vote they should track them down for a medical evaluation. Just about the entire list of AL catchers is more worthy.
Then there is the outfield and the Red Sox have the first three listed on the ballot. Mookie Betts is a given and will easily be an All-Star and a legitimate case can be put forward for Andrew Benintendi. That leaves Jackie Bradley. I am beyond all doubt sure that some Red Sox fans displaying a sense of perverse loyalty will vote for Bradley. I just hope they are few in number.
I really like Rafael Devers. The kid can swing, but can the kid hit? Does it really end there? Devers’ glove work is borderline atrocious. The errors are accumulating like flies to you know what. And his batting average? Devers average is enjoying a trip south and not north. Devers’ 76wRC+ is the lowest among AL third basemen (150 PAs). And he’ll get votes – look to Boston for those numbers.
Dustin Pedroia is on the list and he will get my vote if by the last ballot day Petey is hitting .450. Second base is also loaded with quality and fans voting for a player who has missed 50 games is just not sensible and now he is back on the DL. Maybe if it was a farewell season for a future HOF player. Neither applies.
The issue is one of bias and that certainly applies to the fans of all teams. For me, it is one of simply ethics in that you simply do not reward a player who flat-out does not deserve it. Maybe the Red Sox fans will be more realistic than those of Cincinnati circa 1957, but I doubt it.