x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

All-Star selection turns into a reality show

In what Major League Baseball said was the closest race since fans have been allowed to vote for the final spots on the All-Star teams, Nick Swisher edged out Kevin Youkilis.

In what Major League Baseball said was the closest race since fans have been allowed to vote for the final spots on the All-Star teams, Nick Swisher edged out Kevin Youkilis to make the American League roster. By how much, we don't know. And that is just one of the problems with the All-Star selection process. Although MLB limits the amount of times a person may vote in electing the starters, there is no such limit imposed for the Final Man election.

"Vote as many times as you'd like!" is part of MLB's pitch to fans. Vote they did, with tens of million votes cast. Of course, it is impossible to say exactly how many because MLB declined to produce totals. But since we know that Swisher received more than nine million votes, we can assume that the numbers of all votes had to have been tens of millions. Then, there was the fact that Swisher utilised his Twitter account - which boasted more than a million followers - to campaign for votes.

That was well within Swisher's right, of course, but the whole notion of a player soliciting votes for an exhibition game seems a little too much like a reality show. Then again, that might be the point: Major League Baseball has turned a traditional staple of the season into another episode of American Idol. That might be good for business, but it does not necessarily seem good for the game. sports@thenational.ae