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No, the All-Star vote is not a referendum on Biogenesis-connected players

May 27, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

The first batch of voting results for the All-Star game will be out today. And as Bob Nightengale notes, there are a lot of players who, based on performance, should be All-Star candidates but who may not get much support. Specifically, the Biogenesis-connected players like Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz. All of whom are having great years, but all of whom served PED suspensions last year.

Each of them had different circumstances involving their use of performance-enhancing drugs. All served suspensions. They apologized. And, soon, we will all find out whether they’ll truly be forgiven . . . Considering the All-Star Game is a showcase for the fans, who determine the starting lineup, perhaps this will be a barometer for whether fans are softening their stance toward PEDs.

Eh, no. Because that implies that fans have ever considered performance on the field n the first half of the season as the be-all, end-all of All-Star Game worthiness. Maybe the fan vote has hewed closer to rewarding worthy first-half players in recent years, but there are still a plethora of reasons fans will or will not vote for a guy. A lot of it is totally disconnected from performance and has more to do with how often the team reminds fans to vote, how strong the ballpark’s cell phone reception is and what kind of attendance the team had in mid-April when MLB starts pushing All-Star voting for some damn reason.

More fundamentally — and this may blow your mind — fans often vote for stars when they vote for All-Stars. Derek Jeter will likely be the starting AL shortstop. This is not because of his performance. It’s not because fans will be punishing Alexi Ramirez for some sort of transgression the rest of us have missed. It’s because he’s Derek Jeter and Derek Jeter is a big star and he’s famous and Alexi Ramirez ain’t. Which is fine, because it’s a fan vote and they can vote for any reason they want to. Often times, being famous or compelling or playing for a popular team matters a hell of a lot more than anything.

Ryan Braun had always been famous and popular before the PED stuff, so sure, I imagine if suddenly becomes an All-Star also-ran it’s in large part because of his now-sullied reputation. Jhonny Perlata could get a surge of support because he now plays for the Cardinals, not because fans have suddenly softened their stance on PEDs. Guys like Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz might get soft support because of the drugs or it could be just as much a function of them being Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz. Which, in terms of star power puts them a lot closer to Alexi Ramirez than it does Derek Jeter.

Poring over All-Star voting is fun to some, but mostly pointless. Trying to draw definitive conclusions about any specific fan opinion from them, however, is a fool’s errand.

  1. sfm073 - May 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    If it’s dumb and pointless then why did you spend the time to write this way too long piece?

    • nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Same reason you spent the time to read it, only to make a dumb and pointless comment on it.

    • Ryan - May 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      Because this is a baseball blog that deals with…baseball. Is 60-90 seconds too much time to spend reading something?

    • randomdigits - May 27, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      He got paid to do it.

  2. nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    All-Star voting has always been more of a popularity contest than it has been about rewarding those players who have earned a berth due to their first half play. Fans will most often vote for players on their own team, whether they deserve it or not.

    Why the hell they start voting two months before the ASG is beyond me.

    • thetoolsofignorance - May 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      The early vote is symptomatic of the problem. As the author says, it sets up the All Star Game with a trend for popular rather than good players. If one is voting in April then one has no idea if the player is going to have a good or bad season. That’s why they should rename the ASG the “Derek Jeter ASG” and be done with it.

  3. gbart22 - May 27, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Outside of the minority vocal die hards the majority of fans don’t care about any of this PED nonsense. We vote who hits the homers and we find sexy in a baseball sense

  4. Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    “…Which is fine, because it’s a fan vote and they can vote for any reason they want to. Often times, being famous or compelling or playing for a popular team matters a hell of a lot more than anything.”

    Which is 100% understandable, however it bothers the living S out of me that this popularity contest determines home field advantage in the World Series. People will continue to vote for guys like Jeter because of his farewell tour and popularity instead of looking at his overall mediocre stats, then not vote for guys like Cruz or Peralta, not for failing drug tests at any point, but for being implicated in Biogenesis. And again- I would not mind… if the results didn’t play a role in the WS.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      It bothers the living S out of me that All-Star appearances are used at the end of a players career to somehow determine that players worth, and even acceptance into the Hall of Fame.

      • braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        It’s called the Hall of FAME for a reason. That is why many take AS game appearances into consideration when voting for Hall candidacy. Clearly, especially with a fan vote, a guy with a ton of AS games under his belt was a lot more famous than a guy who has little to none, regardless of stats.

      • Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Brad you just used the word I wanted to use to negate your point- “famous.” Fame does not equal HOF. HOF does not equal fame. Skill, stats, ability… that’s what makes a player HOF worthy. Not how famous they are. And really with AS votes you can’t ignore markets that play a huge factor- NY, LA, Boston… players in these markets get a TON of pub as opposed to say KC or Tampa. So because Jeter is JETER KING OF NY he deserves to be starting SS more than Alexi Ramirez? Or Hardy? Or X Bogaerts? And to that point, these guys who very well could be HOF worthy one day will have people with your opinion (that appearances matter) saying they didn’t appear in enough allstar games which is a knock against them.. or something like that? All I’m driving at here is that celebrity/famous does NOT equal HOF worthy. Not even close.

      • braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Statistics or the Hall of Infamy. That’s what leaderboards and popular opinion are for and why guys like Barry Larkin get in and guys like Bonds don’t. Clearly, the better the stats a player has, the more “famous” he will become, but you can’t negate fame from the Hall of Fame and expect to have a valid argument.

      • thetoolsofignorance - May 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        bradley
        your lack of understanding is only surpassed by your boneheadedness

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        In that case Braddavery, we should eliminate statistics from the Hall entirely, and instead institute popularity poles. We can open up our own “Hall of Math is hard” where stats matter more than popularity.

        By the way, Bonds not getting in has nothing to do with his ability, clearly, that is a political blackball procedure and really does nothing to further your argument, as Bonds is QUITE famous. So is Alex Rodriguez, who will likely suffer a similar fate.

      • braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Clearly you are completely ignoring my points and making things up. As if I said or even implied that stats are meaningless.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 27, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        “It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Statistics or the Hall of Infamy. ”

        Yes, I am clearly making things up.
        http://showbizgeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/tina-fey-eye-roll.jpg

      • braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 11:58 PM

        Oh good, then it should be easy for you to point me to a post where I said that stats are completely meaningless when it comes to Hall voting. I’ll wait.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 28, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        “When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are.”

      • braddavery - May 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        You make things up out of the clear blue sky and act like I said or even implied them and rag on me about it… and I’m the fool. lol Yep. Keep it coming though. Your insanity is hilarious.

    • barrybondsisthealltimehomerunking - May 27, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Yes, as a NL fan I am stuffing the ballot with Jeter votes, home field matters. The All-Star game determining home field advantage is just a terrible idea. Having said that if you are a fan of an NL team and you think you have a chance at the world series take the time to vote for non deserving AL All Stars.

      • braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        I never thought of that. That’s pretty ingenious. ‘Vote for the worse guys in the other league’. lol

      • Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        THIS is what the voting should be about- making the opposition as terrible as possible to ensure home field advantage.

      • nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        Ha! As an AL guy, I shall get all my friends and relations to stuff the ballot box with Dan Uggla votes.

  5. pbastille - May 27, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Thank goodness voting trends like these never happen in political elections.

  6. phillysports1 - May 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Melky Cabrera is getting my VOTE.

  7. braddavery - May 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    When will people realize the All-Star game is a popularity contest and that statistics have minimal bearing on the vote. Probably never. Every year it’s the same old tired laments as to why so and so should have made it over blah blah blah because he has better stats.

  8. Jason @ IIATMS - May 27, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    VOTE or VETO. Same letters. Use them as you wish.

    As I’ve ranted for years, you can’t have an exhibition and an popularity contest determining the contenstants used to determine something as meaningful as HFA in the WS. It’s such a massive disconnect in the rationality, it’s actually comical.

    I usually refrain from Bud bashing, but this one gets me every time.

    Again, I don’t care if it’s a popularity contest one iota. Actually, I kinda like it. But it shouldn’t count for anything other than “bragging rights”, whatever that means. And so long as Johnny Gomes doesn’t fight for them.

    • Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      HFA should rightfully go to the team with the better overall record. Plain and simple.

      • nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Agreed!

      • Jason @ IIATMS - May 27, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        In theory, yes. Agreed. Of course, there’s all sorts of other ideas we could use that would be better than the ASG as the determinant.

        H2H Interleague records, for example.

        Anything but the ASG as the determinant.

      • Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        Other options better than the ASG: Coin flip, rock paper scissors, a riveting game of Jenga, biggest fish on a charter boat, first to find Waldo…

    • thetoolsofignorance - May 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      This.

  9. Eutaw's Finest - May 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Other major sports will now be following MLB protocol. The NFL is casting an online vote for who deserves the coin toss in the SuperBowl, the NBA is awarding home field advantage to whichever conference wins the dunk contest, and the NHL will have a pre-series shootout to determine HFA. It’s such a brilliant model, how can it go wrong?

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