I put an asterisk after the exclamation point because the game itself has lost its luster for me over the years, but the process of voting I still find…really cool…for lack of a better description than Bill and Ted would use.
I used to love the All Star game itself. The best players in baseball at the time, many of whom were inner circle Hall of Famers in their prime, competing against each other and actually trying to win. I remember hearing stories about Ted Williams winning a game with a walk off HR. I remember being told that not only did they play TWO games at one point, but that guys like Willie Mays and Stan Musial would play all 9 innings of both games. I was at the 1977 game at Yankee Stadium II (my father took me for my 7th birthday) where Mike Schmidt was present but unable to bat or throw because of a thumb injury. He was in attendance because he thought NL manager Tommy Lasorda may be able to use him as a pinch runner or pinch hitting decoy. He did in fact, pinch run that night. The best 3rd baseman in the game’s history pinch ran.
Imagine any of those things happening today. (He said, in his “Hey kids, get off my lawn” voice).
The ’77 game had 19 (NINETEEN) future Hall of Famers in it, and another 10 or so who could or should be. The cool thing was most had a direct impact on the outcome of the game. Joe Morgan took Jim Palmer deep. Dave Winfield had two hits. Don Sutton threw three scoreless. Dennis Eckersley, two.
Flash forward a few years and we had all-time greats Scott Cooper and Aledmys Diaz getting key hits to win games. We had another all-time great Chris Perez yucking it up with his former teammate – as he was pitching to him. We had Barry Bonds and Torii Hunter fake wrestling and bro-hugging on the field during a game. Talk about jumping the shark.
That was the same game that ended in a tie. A tie. Baseball. Not soccer or hockey. Baseball.
Then we had to incentivize players and managers to try to win. When that happened, a guy who was the All-Star game MVP helped get his team a home game 7 in the World Series that year. A World Series that they won in 7 games, at home. Later, it would be learned that the player was using PED’s at the time. Nobody cared.
You know, “Tough on steroids!!!” Thanks again, Bud. (Steps off pulpit…)
So I’m not even sure if I’ll watch this game. Maybe the first few innings. Watching Mike Trout and Aaron Judge bat in the same inning for the same team isn’t something you get the chance to do too often.
But I still love voting. It’s the ultimate, my guy is better than yours baseball fan debate, but unlike every other time, this time your opinion matters. Someone will hear it and track it and count it. Not hanging chad style with stadium ushers collecting them at inning’s end like in ’77. But checking those online boxes is pretty fun. Below are the names I checked.
Quick selection process, My Baseball Page style:
I tend to go with the guy who’s having the best season, period. This isn’t the who’s been the best over the past decade game.
When things are very close, I simply go with who I’d rather watch play. It’s an exhibition, it’s supposed to be entertaining. I know that’s subjective which isn’t my style, but hey (insert Kevin Costner voice), baseball is fun dammit.
The My Baseball Page 2018 All-Star ballot:
|1B||Matt Olson||Freddie Freeman|
|2B||Jose Altuve||Scooter Gennett|
|SS||Francisco Lindor||Trea Turner|
|3B||Jose Ramirez||Eugenio Suarez|
|C||Gary Sanchez||JT Realmuto|
|OF||Mike Trout||Lorenzo Cain|
|OF||Mookie Betts||Brandon Nimmo|
|OF||Aaron Judge||Nick Markakis|
- At 1B, Freeman has been a full win better than both Goldschmidt and Votto…Holy S… And one could make a case for Moreland over Olson even though Olson has more WAR, but I see Moreland twenty times per season. I rarely see Olson and more WAR, so there.
- Altuve and Gennett are the best in their leagues this season BY FAR.
- One could make a case of Crawford over Turner, but I’d rather watch Turner.
- AL 3B isn’t as easy as I thought – Matt Chapman is having some frigging season for Oakland. And I went Suarez over Shaw because of offense and over Arenado because Arenado plays in Colorado. I hate the benefit that Colorado players get. How’s that for subjectivity?
- Gary Sanchez even though cases could be made for Ramos and Gomes. Sanchez is starting a tear right now (that was predicted here recently) which will make him more TV friendly. And don’t @ me with Salvador Perez. He isn’t quite Harper or Didi level overrated, but he’s close.
- AL OF was the easiest decision of all. Two future Hall of Famers in their prime and possibly the best player of all time, who’s actually getting better if you haven’t checked west coast baseball recently.
- NL OF: I needed to write in Brandon Nimmo because the Mets thought Jay Bruce was better. Nimmo is clearly the best OF in the NL.
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