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Point/Counterpoint: Should fans vote for MLB All-Stars?

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | JUNE 09, 2009 7:26 AM

YES

Summer is heating up and the MLB All-Star Game is a little more than a month away. As usual, there is some controversy over who is getting voted into the game.

This year, that controversy involves Manny Ramirez. Despite being suspended for the majority of the year for taking performance-enhancing drugs, Ramirez sits in fifth place in the voting for NL outfielders, with the top three being named starters. This is just one problem in the larger controversy of whether or not fans should be able to vote for the All-Star game starters.

Despite attempts to turn the Mid-Summer Classic into a meaningful one, I still think it is an exhibition and fans should continue to be allowed to vote for the starters. In fact, this is my first point. They only vote for the starters. The managers and players get to choose the reserves and the entire pitching staff. Any player deserving of making the team will usually get picked by the manager, if not voted in.

As for the game itself, the starters only play long enough to get a couple at-bats. If the game was truly meaningful, managers wouldn’t use up the entire roster like they usually do. If they left the starters in the entire game, the first time a player injured himself, every bit of media would be screaming for the MLB to go back to the way it was.

With regards to Ramirez, I think if he were voted into the All-Star game, he should start. His suspension is set to end 11 days beforehand. If the MLB wants to take a serious stand against PED users, there are plenty of other opportunities to do so. The All-Star Game is not one of those opportunities.

In the end, I agree Bud Selig should eliminate the rule that gives home-field advantage to the league that wins. However, I think this rule should have no influence on whether or not fans get to vote for the All-Star Game.

— by Aaron Cooper

NO

The idea behind the MLB All-Star Game is that it will be a showcase of the league’s top players. If that were actually the case, then it would be quite a game.

The problem is, somewhere along the line, the All-Star game voting was hijacked by the uninformed homers of the world. Currently, Manny Ramirez is fifth in All-Star voting among National League outfielders; he was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy.

By the All-Star game’s opening pitch, Ramirez will have been suspended more games then he has played in, yet the brilliant fans of the nation’s pastime are proclaiming loudly he has had the fifth-best season of any outfielder in the National League.

This is not simply an isolated incident. San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the league in home runs with 22, is sitting fifth in All-Star votes for National League first basemen. Fifth. The top power hitter in the National League apparently doesn’t impress the voting public. Not as much as Houston’s Lance Berkman does anyway, who has fewer dingers and a worse batting average than Gonzalez, yet leads in votes.

But it’s not simply the fans mucking all of the voting up. The players can’t be relied on, either. Let’s not forget last year’s crime of the players voting Jason Varitek to the All-Star squad instead of, well, anyone else in the known universe. When he was named an All-Star last season, Varitek had a .219 batting average with seven home runs and 27 runs batted in.

The problem is the fans don’t know any better, and the players don’t care. But what do I know? Let’s just go out and see how many Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs we can squeeze into two teams and see what happens. It’s not like home-field advantage in the World Series is on the line or anything.

— by Sean Morgan


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