By Chrystopher Mulligan
NFL PRO ZACH Staff
As we near the middle of the baseball season we take the moment to reflect on what has happened over the first half of the year. In doing so we understand that at the end of this month we will see the proverbial mile marker, in the trade deadline, which symbolizes that the season is coming to the close. So as the All Star Game draws nearer, players and fans alike begin to take a break from baseball, resting and enjoying the long summer days. Yet the All Star Break is not necessarily a vacation as 35 players from each league will take their place in the spotlight representing their teams and their personal first half successes. The All Star Game is an event that baseball tends to draw high praise for because of the way it is conducted and how much of a positive effect it has in pulling the sport together. Though, this year, as we move within days of Major League Baseball’s 83rd All Star Game we are beginning to see flaws in the system that has held so faithful to the sport over and over again.
Some flaws that have been making headlines this past week are ones that we have subtly seen over the past few years. The Fan Vote is a tremendous tool for the MLB to increase a fan’s personal interaction into the sport. But with the growing age of awareness and technology it is becoming quite clear that it is not always in the best interest of the sport for the MLB to reach out to fans who have made it known that a unification of a fan base is the most powerful thing of all. The best example of this comes with this year’s National League lineup for the ASG. The sign that I see most fitting is third base, headlined by starter Pablo Sandoval (SFG) and reserve David Wright (NYM). Both are quality third basemen in baseball’s senior circuit and both are deserving of all star nods in their careers. But during this particular season it is clear that San Francisco’s fan base worked harder for their guy than New York did. It’s an important to look at how the fans effect the All Star Game because it has such a large effect on a team like San Francisco’s post season. With their presence they made Sandoval a starter when Wright may have deserved the nod. Looking back at the first half of the season it’s good to note that Wright leads all NL third basemen with a .354 average in 277 ABs while Sandoval doesn’t even qualify for a batting title with only 170 ABs. Wright is the only eligible NL third basemen hitting over
.300 and supremely leads that list in OBP., SLG., OPS., and RBI. It is fair to note that Sandoval missed 35 games with a broken hamate bone in his left hand that occurred May 2nd against Miami but with the Giants one game up on the Dodgers and the Mets only 3.5 games out of 1st and .5 games back from the second wild card spot, wouldn’t you want the best team on the field. The fan vote works for a majority of it’s purposes, but with a game that ultimately decides home field advantage in the World Series, its safe to say the best teams should be assembled.
Ultimately, the blame is on the fans in this one. David Wright is having an MVP-caliber season and they did not support him like he deserved. That does not mean Sandoval is not having a good season. But it gives us with an intriguing look into whether or not a game with such importance should be left to the people who do not hold any positions inside the MLB. The concern over the fan’s role in voting is magnified with players who are excelling on poor teams but it comes into play because of how important the ASG is to the World Series.