Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All-Star Voting Royally Skewed

Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 this year. That’s also the last day of the summer portion of the World Series of Poker -- that is, the day they’ll play down to a final nine in the Main Event.

It’s been a while since I’ve paid much attention to the MLB All-Star Game. Back in the day as a kid I remember looking forward to it every year -- even mailing in ballots -- and then always rooting for the National League which enjoyed a lengthy streak of victories, as I recall.

I continued to follow the MLB into adulthood, albeit less intensely, though by the late 1990s my interest had begun to fade. As far as the All-Star game goes, I remember staying up to watch 11 innings of the 2002 game only to watch it end in a tie after both teams ran out of players, which for me (and I imagine for many others) made that the last All-Star game I bothered to watch all of the way through.

I could be bothered to watch the game this year, though, at least the first couple of innings. That’s because one team’s fans -- the Kansas City Royals -- has done a great job of stuffing the ballot box thus far. In fact right now Royals players are leading for eight of the nine positions for which fans get to vote.

Below is a shot of the latest update of the AL voting totals:

Only Mike Trout of the Angels has one of the outfield spots at the moment -- the rest are all KC.

Something similar happened in 1957 when Cincinnati fans voted seven different Reds into the NL starting line-up. The MLB took voting away from the fans the next year, not giving it back until 1970.

You can now vote online -- up to 35 times per email address, in fact -- and as this Washington Post article spells out that’s a big reason why Kansas City fans have been successful thus far.

The Royals are leading their division currently, although all of their starters are hardly having seasons worthy of earning the All-Star nod. In fact one of them, Omar Infante, who is leading among second basemen, is batting .204 and is currently ranked dead last in the league in “OPS” (on-base % plus slugging %).

Still, I’m kind of pulling for the Royals all to get voted in, just for the sake of anarchy. Kind of reminds me of the time online voters chose Tom Dwan as a Poker Hall of Fame nominee (back in 2009). Like MLB Commissioner Ford Frick did back in 1957, though, when he took a couple of Reds off the NL team in order to give Willie Mays and Hank Aaron spots, the WSOP took Dwan’s name off the ballot.

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