Friday, May 27, 2011

All-Star Voting

I voted for the major league baseball all-star teams this week. Voting extends through June 30, so the opportunity for further reflection exists, but I had been to a minor league game earlier in the day and was filled with the spirit.

There are a number of possible approaches to voting. One is to vote for the players from your favorite team. Cubs fans who vote for all Cubs would find themselves voting for Blake DeWitt, who's listed as their second baseman but who in fact hardly ever plays, having lost his starting spot to Darwin Barney. This used to scandalize people; when so many folk from Cincinnati voted for Reds in 1957 that the entire team was elected to represent the National League, voting was taken away from fans for more than ten years.Now, perhaps due to the moral relativism of the 1960s, it's OK. Another is to vote for players you've heard of. So, you're looking over the ballot and see the name Magglio Ordonez, and that rings a bell. He's had a long, distinguished career with the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Vote for him on that basis, but understand that he might be past his prime. This year he's hitting .172 in limited play. Or you might wind up voting for someone who's injured.

My approach is to go off current season offensive statistics. This avoids the first two pitfalls, but there's always the chance--particularly this early, when the season isn't even 1/3 over--that I'll vote for someone who's a flash in the pan. (Think Kosuke Fukudome of the Cubs, voted to start the 2008 game, who hit .327 in April, and then saw his average decline every month. By the all-star game he was down to a pedestrian .279, and finished the year at a mediocre .257.) I voted for Tony Batista one year based on impressive home run and RBI totals, but he stopped hitting altogether and wasn't starting his own team's games by July. On the other hand, some great players have been notoriously slow starters. I hardly ever voted for Ryne Sandberg or Derrek Lee. But this has been my method, and here is what it spit out this year:

1B Adrian Gonzalez, Boston
2B Robinson Cano, New York
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland
3B Adrian Beltre, Texas
C Alex Avila, Detroit
OF Jose Bautista, Toronto
OF Curtis Granderson, New York
OF Carlos Quentin, Chicago
DH Michael Young, Texas

1B Prince Fielder, Milwaukee
2B Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee
SS Jose Reyes, New York
3B Placido Polanco, Philadelphia
C Brian McCann, Atlanta
OF Lance Berkman, St. Louis
OF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
OF Matt Kemp, Los Angeles

No National League catchers are hitting well this year, so I voted for McCann, who was last year's Gold Glove winner for outstanding fielder. Otherwise I don't honor fielding, impressive as it can be to witness in person.

A waste of time? Of course it is! But it's my waste, to which I'm rather attached.

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