Over the last month, there has been quite a bit written about voting for the All-Star Game. The Royals' fans were apparently stuffing the ballots with the undeserving Omar Infante simply because he played for the Royals. In the end, Infante did not get on the All-Star team, although the Royals did end up with four starters. Four starters from the defending league champion and current division leader does not in the end seem like much of a problem, although the attention the initial votes received likely played a role in ensuring that the entire starting lineup was not comprised of Kansas City Royals.
Some poked fun at Royals' fans as their attempts to get undeserving players elected would seemingly also serve to help prevent that same team from getting home field advantage should it advance to the World Series. The All-Star Game is many things to many people, but ultimately it is an exhibition. Royals fans selfishly tried to get more of their players into the All-Star Game because they wanted to see them in a showcase event. That type of voting is selfish as it clearly does not put the best players in the game not matter how you define best and it does not give the team you root for the best chance of winning. It also provides players with extra requirements when they could be resting for the second half of the season.
Fans should vote as selfishly as they desire and I am pleased that the starters are still voted on by the fans and not determined by the players, managers, or some media vote. MLB should be doing whatever it can to get fans involved in the game, and while voting for the players in an exhibition is not a lot of interaction, it is something, and it need not be taken away.
When Matt Carpenter was not announced as an All-Star I was a little surprised. After all, Harold Reynolds told everyone that a star had been born right before our eyes last fall. There was also a part of me that was relieved that Carpenter would be getting a little more rest. Carpenter has slowed down over the last month, and has not yet been the incredible player he was for the first month or so of the season. He could use a break, but that is selfish of me as I am a fan of Matt Carpenter and he would probably rather have been selected for the team.
Cardinals' fans are faced with another choice in the final vote as Carlos Martinez is among the options. To pick Carlos Martinez for the All-Star Game, it is necessary to ignore several factors. While I am very optimistic about Martinez's future as well as his present, I do not believe it is much of a stretch to say that Clayton Kershaw is the better pitcher. The 27-year-old has three Cy Young Awards, including the last two and has 147 strikeouts in 114 innings this year. Kershaw has been his dominant self and might be the more deserving All-Star.
Trying to decide who would help the team win is fairly futile as the 13th or 14th pitcher in an All-Star Game is not likely to matter and we do not really have any idea how any one pitcher will do in an inning of work. With that said, a position player is probably more likely to be useful in the game and Troy Tulowitzki is available to be chosen.
Martinez, not unlike Carpenter, could probably also use the rest. The team is likely to try and limit the innings of their 23-year-old starter as the season goes on and using the All-Star Break to rest could be beneficial for him and the team going forward. Despite all that, I'm still going to vote for El Gallo. I enjoy watching him pitch and would love to see him at the All-Star Game. My vote does not make sense on a lot of different levels, but I'm still a fan and fans do irrational things all of the time in the name of fandom. Voting for your favorite player to make the All-Star team is not even all that irrational. I encourage you to do the same.
The All-Star Game deserves more of this: