By: Kurt Snyder
As we pause to celebrate our Independence Day, we have chosen to revisit a post written when we all feared that the American League All Star starters may consist of all Royals and a Trout.
But rational heads have prevailed and some of the more deserving players have found their way into the lineup. Sure, there is a second base problem yet to be fixed but I suppose we can live with the rest.
But below is how we felt a few weeks ago about the voting process.
I normally don’t pay much attention to the All Star game voting. Nothing about it really raises an eyebrow for me. People vote and sometimes players qualify based completely on popularity.
Heck, players like Derek Jeter have been voted onto teams having hardly played a game all season. They have made the game based on their past success or their imminent entrance into the Hall of Fame.
But none of that really bothers me. I take no issue with honoring the stars of the game, past or present. But this game was never meant to impact anything meaningful. It was meant to celebrate the game at the mid-point of the season; nothing more, nothing less.
But for years now, the All Star Game result has determined home field advantage in the World Series, and all of us who have found this ridiculous are about to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If the game is ever going to be removed from the hands of the fans, this could be the year. And we can all thank the Kansas City Royals.
You know how some things may just need to get worse before they get better? Well, thanks to the Royals and their fans, this year’s version of the game is about to become the biggest sham ever, unless fans come to their senses.
Consider for the moment how the voting stands as of today and just imagine how baseball will be viewed if this really happens:
Kansas City currently has the top vote-getter at seven spots:
Catcher – Salvador Perez (no issue)
First base – Eric Hosmer (leading Miguel Cabrera & Prince Fielder)
Third base – Mike Moustakas (leading Josh Donaldson)
Shortstop – Alcides Escobar (leading Jose Iglesias)
Outfield – Alex Gordon (leading Adam Jones who sits at 5th in the voting)
Outfield – Lorenzo Cain (leading Mike Trout)
Designated Hitter – Kendrys Morales (leading Nelson Cruz)
Now, I don’t know what kind of campaign they are running in KC, but they may be impacting how the All Star Game is treated in the future. All Star games were meant to be annual celebrations of talent. It’s about showcasing the best players that baseball has to offer. But this season, the American League starters may be dominated by one team unlike any other year, and players who are the best in the game may sit until the third inning or more.
Prince Fielder is leading the league in hitting and has made a tremendous comeback this season. If Miggy didn’t start, I would gladly understand, given how great Fielder has been. But Hosmer leads both of these guys. He leads more than likely the Comeback Player of the Year and a Future Hall of Famer considered to be the best hitter in the game.
Let me pick another. Mike Trout should never be trailing anyone for a starting spot in the outfield. He is arguably baseball’s best player. But the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain leads him. Lorenzo Cain! And to make this even more of a travesty, Alex Rios (of the Royals) who’s played in 14 games this season, actually leads Adam Jones, who has been having another great year.
If the Royals really did possess legitimate All Star starters at 8 positions, then the rest of the American League might as well pack up and concede the pennant.
But don’t be fooled by my position here. I am actually quite excited that something good may come from all of this. And something impactful may have to happen for baseball to come to their senses. Our new commissioner, I am sure, is taking notice.
We will see how this goes, but if things stay the way they are, this will be the final straw for the All Star Game. Fans, especially in Kansas City, may have given up their right to vote for the starters. Their job is to vote for the best, not try to load up the team with their own, regardless of whether or not they have earned it. Heck, Omar Infante is not too far away from taking over the lead at second base, over some guy named Jose Altuve. That’s right, Omar Infante! It’s just plain silly.
So thank you KC; I am sure you are getting a good laugh from all this. The Royals (and their fans) are acting like a franchise not used to winning, still searching for recognition, as if going to the World Series was not enough.
But we will all win in the end. When the 2015 All Star Game trots out an American League lineup of Kansas City Royals, it will spell the end of the game’s tie to the World Series and maybe even the fans right to vote. And all of that would be just fine with me.
Fast forward to today and the American League starters now look like this:
Catcher – Salvador Perez (no issue)
First base – Miguel Cabrera (now on the DL)
Second base – Omar Infante (please, no!)
Third base – Josh Donaldson (well deserved)
Shortstop – Alcides Escobar (if we must)
Outfield – Mike Trout (’nuff said)
Outfield – Lorenzo Cain (if we must)
Outfield – Alex Gordon (he doesn’t sound Cuban)
DH – Nelson Cruz (of course)
So I guess we will live with 5 Royals. At least some sanity has prevailed. Happy Fourth!