Baseball loves wacky, or maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the All-Star voting results. Major League Baseball has a real problem on its hands and has absolutely no one to blame but itself.
And I’m not talking about Adrian Gonzalez slipping away from a starting role at first base. Gonzalez began the year on fire, with a ridiculous .383/.432/.790 slash line and eight homers and 19 RBI in 21 April games. In his 42 games since, he’s at .267/.366/.413 with three homers and 24 RBI.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt passed him in the voting and is now creating a significant lead. And that’s as it should be, Goldschmidt having superior numbers at every major offensive category but doubles.
So there likely will be no Dodger — the team with the second-best record in the league — starting for the National League next month in Cincinnati. Which, really, is correct.
The N.L. team is in danger of some glaring omissions, but the results look downright reasonable compared to the American League, where ballot-stuffing Kansas City fans have a Royal leading in eight of the nine starting positions.
It is, of course, an absolute joke, but that’s what happens when you go pandering for the easy buck. I am — prepare for a shock here — old-school when it comes to All-Star teams. I think they should be filled with the most deserving players. It should be an honor earned, not the result of a goofy popularity contest.
The fans should not vote. Let the players or manager or media cast ballots, with a one-vote per person mandate. Nothing will ever be perfect, but it will come light years closer than the current mess.
The trouble is, everything is sold and sponsored these days. It’s the insurance All-Star ballot, which is not a physical ballot at all but one now exclusively available online. Not only do you vote online, but you can vote up to 35 times. What genius came up with that plan? And not only can you vote 35 times, but 35 times per registered email address! So 35 times on your Yahoo and 35 more times on your Gmail and your work email and whatever.
Think those hack-happy people in Missouri are possibly making up new email addresses just to vote another 35 times?
The Cardinals currently have three players leading in the N.L. voting, with Kolton Wong closing in on Dee Gordon at second and Yadier Molina ridiculously close to Buster Posey at catcher. Ex-Royal Nori Aoki actually holds the third outfield spot — ahead of Giancarlo Stanton.
In 1957, Cincinnati stuffed the ballot box and voted in seven Reds. Commissioner Ford Frick had to step in and replace Wally Post and Gus Bell with a couple of guys named Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. This year, Commissioner Rob Manfred may be forced to do something similar.
But he will not be coming to the rescue of Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick or Joc Pederson or any other Dodger. Which is entirely reasonable, and very unlike MLB’s current All-Star arrangement.