MLB All-Star Game: Royals Fans Stuffing the Ballot Box is Fantastically Terrific


Major League Baseball released an update for the American League All-Star Game fan vote yesterday, and the division rival Kansas City Royals are featuring prominently. Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar are edging out a pair of Detroit Tigers in Miguel Cabrera and Jose Iglesias at first base and shortstop respectively. In fact, if the voting were to have ended yesterday, eight Royals would be starting the All-Star Game for the American League.

I’m hoping they can make it nine.

This position is a little bit tough to hold because it would come at the expense of two or three Detroit Tigers starting the game — Miguel Cabrera, Jose Iglesias, and Yoenis Cespedes all would have a legitimate shot — and it would come as a sort of benefit to a rival franchise, but the idea of what’s going on here is terrific. If it was fans of a random National League club doing this — say the Pittsburgh Pirates — I would be 100% on board, no qualms about it.

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But even though it’s the Royals and even though it means my childlike excitement of seeing my guys run out there with their names being called out as starters won’t be exercised, I’m still like 98% down with this.

I like that this is happening — and hope Royals fans can push out Mike Trout as well — because it’s whimsical. We take our sports far too seriously most of the time, and every now and then it’s important to realize that this is entertainment. Of course this would become extremely dull and stupid if it happened every year (or even more than once), but we’ve all wondered what would happen if a fanbase could actually do it.

And the fact that it’s the small market Royals and not the Red Sox or Yankees who are achieving it makes it even better. Most of us have cast a straight-ticket ballot in favor of the Detroit Tigers at least once in our life.

People who hate having fun will try to argue against this.

“Undeserving players,” they’ll cry. Omar Infante is having a terrible year! They are correct about those things. But undeserving players making All-Star teams is a time honored tradition. Derek Jeter was the AL starter at shortstop last year, let’s not forget. He wasn’t hitting as bad as Infante is, no, but he was not necessarily deserving to be on the team (much less starting).

“But home field advantage in the World Series,” they’ll also whine. To that I saw pshaw. The rule was changed to award home field advantage in the World Series to the league that won the All-Star Game starting in 2003. I will argue that the rule change has not yet affected a single World Series. The old rule was that the AL and NL simply alternated years, with the NL having home field advantage in the World Series in odd-numbered years and the AL in even-numbered years.

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  • The only way home field truly advantage comes into play is if a series goes seven games. Since 2003 we’ve had two seven game World Series (2014 and 2011), but both times the league who won the All-Star game would have already owned home field advantage in the old alternating system. The Royals hosted the Giants in Game 7 last year because the AL won the All-Star Game, but the AL would have owned home field advantage in the even year under the old system. The Cardinals hosted the Rangers in Game 7 in 2011 because the NL won the All-Star Game, but the NL would have owned home field advantage in the odd year under the old system.

    This isn’t to say that the All-Star Game being tied to the World Series is a good thing, or that the old alternating system was great either, but rather that “this one counts!” doesn’t really mean all that much. In order for the All-Star Game outcome to affect the World Series, the series needs to go seven games and home field advantage would have had to be otherwise reversed under a different system. We’ve had five seven-game series since the ’94 strike (20 years ago). So if series go seven games 25% of the time and each league wins the All-Star Game 50% of the time, we would expect the All-Star Game to actually “count” once every eight years or so.

    That’s not enough for me to really care, so I’m all in favor of the whimsy and chaos Royals fans are giving us. Will this lead to All-Star Game voting changes? Will the league try to do anything to stop this? Sure this might screw up one inninng of an exhibition game that might affect a real game once every eight years, but MLB All-Star voting has never provided us with theater even close to this great.

    Enjoy the free entertainment!

    Next: Video of Every Home Run Miguel Cabrera Has Hit in 2015

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