Ballots to vote on player selection to the All-Star Game are out and have been for a few weeks now. Their announcement generated the expected scorn from those who (rightfully) deride a voting process so influenced by early season results. I’ve personally stopped caring much about the All Star Game, but the season was basically two weeks old when voting began. That’s lame and unnecessary on baseball’s part. It’s not as if they have a need for voting to begin early. They’ll get votes; they’ll get plenty of votes.
However, instead of that usual track of criticism, I’m going to attack the voting process from the other side. It doesn’t begin soon enough. Namely, it should begin right after the conclusion of the previous All-Star Game. Why not? Right now, All Star selections too often reflect great starts to seasons, but what of great ends or even middles? The player who had a poor first half in 2011 but great second half is forgotten when it comes to All Star time unless that second-half hot streak continues into the next season. But if voting were always open, then that player would garner votes during his hot streak and possibly then hold on for a spot when the cutoff for selection ended.
Watering down the votes accrued from hot starts with votes already banked from good ends would, I feel, also indirectly lead to a better overall crop of players winning starting slots. Year round voting would better reward the players that are more able to sustain good play. There would be less flukes sneaking their way in.
If voting were active during the summer and fall, imagine how pennant drives and playoff heroics would drive votes. It would also lend a fun air to the offseason as passionate fanbases embrace and spite transactions involving players on the cusp of All Star leads. For an exhibition game that’s ultimately devoid of impact no matter how hard Bud Selig tries, isn’t having more fun with it a good aim? Sure, it’s still shortsighted, but you’re never going to get a majority of people to take a long-term view. Given that, baseball should make an effort to best balance it out and I think year-round voting would move closer to that goal.
Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.