All-Star voting not for everyone
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, once a symbol of exceptionalism, has become a monument to the rot infecting our national pastime’s democratic character. At issue is an electoral process replete with deceit, corruption and overall Chicago-style politics, not seen since the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
During most of the “baseball century” All-Stars were chosen by managers, coaches and other wise men, who had the game’s best interests at heart. Then in the 1970s, All-Star selection was turned over to the hordes.
With fans in charge of filling rosters, populist .250 hitters made the team while sluggers having MVP-type seasons stayed home, because they weren’t featured enough on ESPN’s Top Ten Plays. League presidents, under pressure to please the masses, refused to investigate reports of spectators stuffing ballpark ballot boxes with multiple punch-out cards, some of which had hanging chads.
But at least back then you had to be a ticket holder to vote. Nowadays not even that small measure of quality control is in place. Anyone with a computer or smart phone can vote, even if they don’t know the difference between a ball and a strike. For all we know a bunch of German soccer enthusiasts in Berlin decided the American League’s starting lineup.
To restore integrity to the All-Star Game we must harken back to the vision of our founders — Alexander Cartwright and Abner Doubleday — and return power to the individual leagues, by repealing fan voting. With managers and coaches filling roster spots, players will once again be chosen by their statistics, rather than by the popularity of their bobblehead doll.
New York, N.Y.