x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

MLB: For once, fans get it right with baseball's All-Star vote

It used to be fun to take baseball fans to task for how they voted in the All-Star Game line-ups, loyalists for selecting undeserving players. No more. It's like fans are now looking at statistics and watching games.

Joey Votto, centre, of the Cincinnati Reds, is deserving of the votes he has received by the fans to start Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.
Joey Votto, centre, of the Cincinnati Reds, is deserving of the votes he has received by the fans to start Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.

This used to be fun, taking baseball to task for letting fans vote the All-Star Game line-ups, and to mock the loyalists for selecting undeserving players.

No more.

It's like voters are paying attention to what is in front of them. As if they look at statistics and watch games.

They actually chose perfectly credible starters at every position for the American League. Oh, sure, we can quibble.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was elected to tomorrow's game for the National League, even though he has missed more than a month of games and was on the fringes of All-Star-calibre production when he did get to play.

Then there's the NL first baseman, Cincinnatis Reds' Joey Votto. The man never met a walk he would not take, and his runs batted-in total is more than 30 short of both All-Star reserves, Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Allen Craig of the St Louis Cardinals.

Picky, picky. Votto is still an elite performer (. 432 on-base percentage, 34 extra-base hits).

As for Harper, 20, he has been the poster boy of the sport's future since he was 16. We suppose voters are entitled to indulge themselves with one personal favourite.

After all, there was a time when fans shamelessly voted for over-the-hill stars; stuffed the ballot box for hometown mediocrities and notoriously appointed the retired Mike Schmidt to a starting spot.

Like we said, the fun old days.

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

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