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A couple of Orioles fans submitted 38,000 All-Star Game ballots

Jun 25, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

2014 All-Star Game logo

The headline says 12,500, but that was just the last batch of ballots that 19-year-olds Christian Walston and Kelsey Thomas brought to Camden Yards. They submitted 38,000 in all, according to this City Paper article. Why?

Christian Walston, 19 and Kelsey Thomas also 19, are 13-game plan season-ticket holders from Crisfield, MD and Temperance, VA respectively, who were turning in their ballots as part of the Orioles’ Vote-Orange program, that rewards ballot-box stuffers with all sorts of team swag for ensuring that the Birds will be well-represented at the mid-summer classic taking place at Minnesota’s Target Field on july 15, 2014.

Walston and Thomas are getting a 12-person catered suite for an upcoming, game at Oriole Park.

Good for them! Sounds like a lot of work and a lot of fun and it’s a pretty spiffy way to show the love for their favorite team (all 38,000 ballots were straight-ticket Orioles ballots).

Of course, the only thing that bugs me about this is that while everything else about the All-Star Game is geared toward fun and fan-friendly events — as it should be, by the way — Major League Baseball still insists on making the All-Star Game decide which league gets home field advantage in the World Series. Having this one actually significant matter remain a part of things always makes me look at fun stuff like what these two kids have done with a twinge of angst.

Bud Selig got embarrassed on national television by an All-Star Game tie over a decade ago and so he made a rule to make that not happen anymore. Except the rule has done absolutely nothing to make the leagues and players treat the All-Star Game more seriously than they had been and now makes an increasingly unimportant exhibition/celebration determine a thing that actually matters a whole lot. I’m not saying these 38,000 votes makes a difference to all of this, but I do have to wonder why, other than Bud Selig’s pride, we are sticking with this dumb home field advantage rule.

  1. hoopmatch - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    If the all-star game outcome determines home field advantage in world series, then the game should be played to win; not as an exhibition. That means play it like a regular season game and don’t try to squeeze the whole 40-man roster into the mix.

    • billybawl - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      That cure would be worse than the disease. What would you do with fans voting in Jeter as a starter? Would a manager be obliged to replace him after one pitch with a better SS, or do we take away the fan vote and choose based on first-half performance? I’d rather watch over-the-hill stars mug for the camera and horse around with each other.

      The fix is to choose home field advantage by some other method. Selig introduced a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. So we had a tie. Meh.

      • Cris E - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        My favorite other method is the overall interleague record, with total runs as a tiebreaker (and boxcar hobo fights to back that up.)

  2. rbts2014 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    how does that work to submit that many ballots?

    I tried stuffing the ballot box for Dodger players and I was told after 35 votes that I could not cast any more votes.

    WordPress.com Craig Calcaterra posted: “The headline says 12,500, but that was just the last batch of ballots that 19-year-olds Christian Walston and Kelsey Thomas brought to Camden Yards. They submitted 38,000 in all, according to this City Paper article. Why? Christian Walston, 19 and Kelsey”

    • dowhatifeellike - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      At first, I assumed 35 votes/day from a ton of different email addresses, but it sounds like they did physical ballots. Maybe they just backed up a truck and had someone load boxes of ballots? I wonder how many of their friends helped fill them out.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Fake multiple counts, using an ISP anonymizer, etc., if you do it online. The Orioles ignoring the rules #disrespecting, eh Craig, if they brought all those paper ballots in at once.

    • mikhelb - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      They asked people to give them the blank “votes”, then they voted. It goes against the rules because you are allowed to vote once per ticket, but they might as well say the ticket owners were the ones who voted and they just delivered the “votes”.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 26, 2014 at 8:47 AM

        Please… they’ve got nothing on Chicago… dead people vote there…

        At least these kids were vertical, upright and ABOVE ground…

    • philipharmonic - Jun 25, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      I’m sure they used paper ballots. The Washington Nationals had a similar promotion, where you get swag for ballots (like a couple of bobbleheads for turning in 1,000 ballots). I get to a fair number of games and I was bringing stacks of ballots home after games. Unfortunately, I never got around to punching them out and missed the deadline. Now I have 2,500 all-star ballots taking up space in my condo.

      • cwalston108 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        Yeah we used paper ballots. On Eutaw Street (a road that goes through the inside of Camden Yards for those not familiar) there is a booth set up where you can pick up boxes of 1500 ballots. A lot of teams have promotions like this, so I doubt we broke any rules. This is at least the third or fourth year that the Orioles have ran the promotion. We barely got into the top 5, which is what you needed to be to get a suite. One lady had turned in nearly 50,000 last Friday. I simply punched the ballots whenever I watched a game on tv.

  3. infieldhit - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I felt like no one was actually upset that an All-Star Game ended iin a tie; people just like to complain out loud.

    The worst-case scenario to me would be the ASG MVP getting traded to a team in the other league, who then end up losing on the road in a game 7.

    • spacenettle - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      I feel like people just really couldn’t get enough of saying “there’s no tying in baseball!”

  4. dowhatifeellike - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Good for them. I couldn’t even be arsed to vote once. I probably won’t watch, either, as I appreciate a good 3-day break in the middle of the season.

  5. jwbiii - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Where’s the commenter who keeps asking who is voting for Matt Wieters?

  6. El Bravo - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Pizza party. If you win the ASG, your team gets a free pizza party. That should be enough to incentivize the players to win.

    • infieldhit - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      And ice cream?

    • moogro - Jun 25, 2014 at 6:26 PM

  7. eshine76 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Perhaps MLB should consider giving home team advantage to the league who wins the most interleague games? As an NL fan, I’m aware that this is a disadvantage. However, it is a more fair measure for home field advantage during the World Series. Besides, the AS game isn’t as fun anymore because the players aren’t allowed to have fun.

  8. nobody78 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    I don’t remember anyone complaining when home field advantage was determined by what year it is. This, for all of its flaws, is a better measure of which league is more deserving than that was.

  9. alangyo - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    So home field advantage is decided randomly, just like it was before (alternating leagues). I mean who cares? And/or how would you fairly (or in a meaningful way) award HF advantage in the world series.

    You cant (fairly) without a truly balanced scheduled.

    Should the All-star game “count?” Not really. but it doesnt really count, does anyone see any difference between the ASG determining HF Advantage and the previous method, which was just switching? More were random…

    • billybawl - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Agree, and that’s why it should just go back to alternating leagues.

      • alangyo - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        But what’s the difference? Both are arbitrary. You cant tell me winner of the ASG isnt any less arbitrary then switching off.

        So why care about this? Why change things if nothing will be different?

        Also, if the fact that “this time it counts” adds a little intrigue (i.e., enjoyment) to the ASG and almost any way of awarding HF Advantage is arbitrary, I’ll take the path that adds a little extra intrigue.

      • mikhelb - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        @alangyo: The first six years the AL won the all star, had an advantage and yet the WS result was 3-3. In the past 5 WS the league that won the all star, has won the WS. In the 11 years since this rule has existed, 8 times the league winner of the All Star has also won the WS.

    • chadjones27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Coin flip?
      Roshambo?
      Pie eating contest?
      Tug-o-war?
      Dizzy bat races? Now, that I’d pay to see.

    • mikhelb - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      Not random, considering there was a time the AL won 18, lost 3 and one tie, from 1988 to 2009. The AL has won 14 WS iin that lapse, 1 year there has not been a WS and the NL has won 7 times.

      Now, in the last 5 WS, the league with the advantage after winning the All-Star has won it.

  10. rickrenteria - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I have little doubt I single handedly got Dave Kingman into the All-Star starting lineup in 1980.

    • chinahand11 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      Thanks, Rickrenteria. I really liked “homer or strike-out” Dave “Kong” Kingman. Dude hit some bombs.

  11. mybrunoblog - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Best overall record should get home field in the World Series. End of discussion.

    • alangyo - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      How is that exactly fair? You realize that each team’s schedule is different, thus one team could have a slightly better W-L record, yet could have played far easier competition, making the second best W-L record actually a better team….

      So yeah, again, random based on a single season’s schedule and the relative quality of intra-division opponents.

      • nbjays - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        Better than being based on a single game of “your fan favorites” against “our fan favorites”.

      • alangyo - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        why? how? show your math.

      • mikhelb - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        It would be as random as giving advantage to the league that wins the all-star game.

        The only way for it to be fair is to grant advantage on an alternating basis, that way it won’t matter if the team with the best record in a leagye had an easier schedule than his rival in the world series, nor if the league that won the all-star had the best overall talent.

        You want randomness? Flip a coin once and only once, because after a lot of repetitions the randomness tends to end.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        Show me the math on how it’s not fair. Overall team record is used all the time to determine..well…everything. Home field advantage in every playoff series in every sport is determined by team record, yet no one ever jumps up and down and calls it random.

        You’re never going to have a completely balanced or “fair” schedule. Won/loss record makes the most sense. And no, it’s not just as random as arbitrarily flip-flopping each year.

  12. jfk69 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    You can safely assume these two are single and have no lives. Well back to fantasy baseball…lol

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Um, they’re teenagers, and they probably had a blast doing it.

      • kelseynicole210 - Jun 25, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        Actually neither of us are single, we date one another. You’d be surprised at how easy the ballots are to punch too! We both live 3 hours from Baltimore so we watched most games from home and those few hours became designated ballot-punching hours. We had fun and have won a ton of prizes. Definitely worth it if you ask me!

      • jwbiii - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Crisfield, crabs, mmm!

  13. sdelmonte - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I don’t have a problem with the game determining home field for the World Series. It’s as arbitrary as alternating leagues.

    What I don’t like is fan voting. But my efforts to explain why come across as rants. Suffice it to say, I would rather see the players chosen based entirely on their stats and not on anyone’s opinions.

    • chadjones27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      Would players be penalized for TOOTBLAN?

      • sdelmonte - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        Only if there is a good metric for it.

      • jwbiii - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        rWAR has a baserunning component, It covers caught stealing and being thrown out attempting to take an extra base but not pick offs.

    • mikhelb - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      I have no problem with people voting, it is as arbitrary as having players deciding who goes, or statheads deciding who should go based on stats not everybody agrees should be the ones to dictamine the “best player” for a portion of the season (and i am a stathead myself). Every season there are players with a monster month or month and a half before the all-star, their production declines but keep leading the league in various categories, until all balances out at the end of the season and that monster month (or two) evens out with the rest… regression is a bitch, and you should know it if you know about stats.

      By the way… even when alternating leagues (advantages) was as arbitrary as dictamining that whomever wins the all-star gets the advantage, the point is, alternating it was the most “fair”.

  14. chadjones27 - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    If they were sneaky, they would have chose “other” then put Cal Ripken Jr. That is, if they were trying to make a mockery of the whole situation.
    But, bravo to them. That must have taken forever.

  15. needtoplay - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    The solution is simple enough: the LEAGUE with the best record in Inter-league play receives home-field advantage… not the team, but the league. If the AL wins more games against NL teams, they receive home-field advantage, and vice versa…. you get the point.

    The ASG is, and should be, as the others have stated: an exhibition for entertainment purposes only, especially with the way the players are selected in the first place. If it is to mean something, then let each league’s managers choose who is to represent their league. And let them play it like a real game… just as the others here have stated.

    And who was truly upset with the tie game? If it is an exhibition FOR the fans, and to drum up interest in the game, then no one is upset with a tie. It was never a good idea to take a long-time exhibition game that is what it is and try to force it into something worthwhile.

    OK… I am done… thanks for reading this far.

  16. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I am in great favor of this. I hope they keep it up and make sure Matt Wieters gets elected starting Catcher for the AL team.

    For the record, I’m not in favor just because they are voting for my team, but rather because I love how they are making a mockery of an otherwise terrible system that deserves to be shown for the ridiculousness it is.

  17. Kevin S. - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Ha! I called the ballot boxes being stuffed in Baltimore.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jun 25, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      Ironically, it’s an Election Day with record low turnout in MD. No ballot boxes being stuffed, except for the ASG.

  18. natsattack - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Why not have home field advantage decided by best record between the two teams, and the ASG as a tiebreaker?
    Also, the fan vote is stupid, but it’s also the same way that this country chooses our leaders.

  19. musketmaniac - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Nice job boys, Nixon could have used your help in 60.

  20. djpostl - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Gah. What idiots. If you actually think you have a shot at making the WS anyone who just votes for their team is window licker. Put the best possible team on the field to increase your chances.

  21. greymares - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    I would give the home field advantage to the league that LOST the previous years World Series

  22. favrewillplay4ever - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    It’s really simple. Every NL team plays every AL team each year. Use their head to head record for the season to determine home field advantage.

    This will add more excitement to the LCS series since you will have fans of one LCS competitors cheating for one of the teams in the other league as well.

    Hypothetically,

    Braves and Cubs in NLCS
    Yankees and Tigers in ALCS

    Braves finish with winning record against Yankees and losing record against the Tigers. Braves fan cheers for the Yankees as well in the ALCS

    Tigers finish with losing record against Cubs and winning record against Braves. Their fans cheer for Cubs.

    It would add another dynamic to the playoff picture

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