Let’s face it, baseball fans aren’t competent enough to be trusted with an All-Star ballot. Need proof? We’re only one day until the starting lineups are announced and a current minor leaguer has the fourth most votes among American League catchers. The player is Texas Rangers’ farmhand Taylor Teagarden, and while he won’t end up making the All-Star game, the fact that he is even close is ridiculous.
Unless you’re from Texas or were fortunate to have picked up the young catcher on your fantasy team for a remarkable 14 game stretch in late 2008, you probably don’t know who he is. But to give you some perspective, 39 American League catchers have more hits this season than Teagarden and there are only 14 teams in the AL. Even his minor league stats aren’t All-Star worthy.
So with that in mind, here’s how I would improve the All-Star selection process, presented in three Jesse Jackson-esque steps:
- Wait – Before we know it, All-Star ballots will be distributed during spring training. Each year, it seems they come out earlier and earlier, not giving the fans enough time to determine who is and who isn’t having a good year. Waiting until, say June or even half way through May would allow the fans plenty of time to make an informed decision.
- Discriminate – I understand that every team needs to be represented at the All-Star game, but not every team should be represented on the ballot. If our good friend Bud follows my first suggestion to wait for ballot distribution, then they could make a ballot that consisted of only qualified candidates. And if that means that players like Taylor Teagarden or Aki Iwamura aren’t included, then so be it.
- Delegate – I’m cool with the fans picking a player at each position, but why not let the managers do what they’re paid to do and pick the starting lineup? Since we’re now in the “this time it counts” era of All-Star games, maybe the general public shouldn’t be allowed to choose Placido Polanco to start at 3rd over David Wright.