All-Star outrage nostalgia

Now that fans have gone and gotten smarter, it's not as much fun to argue about who gets voted to the starting lineup.

Published July 1, 2008 6:20PM (EDT)

Voting for the baseball All-Star Game, like the game itself, isn't as much fun as it used to be.

At least not for me, and what else is important?

It used to be really fun to poke holes in the cards at the ballpark with a pen or Dad's car key, but I'm not talking about that. I mean that I used to really get into arguing about who should or shouldn't make the starting lineup.

Oddly, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, my interest in that subject faded at about the same time commissioner Bud Selig declared that the All-Star Game would determine home-field advantage in the World Series, a move that still boggles my mind for its outlandish nonsensicalness. An exhibition game the players don't really care about deciding home field in the championship series. That's a good one.

I think it is a coincidence, actually. The fun used to come from the outstanding nonsensicality -- much better word -- of some of the fans' choices. Every year some perennial All-Star now hitting .213 with negative-six home runs and 832 errors would dominate the tally at a position he no longer even played. And he'd only be about the fifth worst choice.

But in the last decade or so you fans have gone and gotten smart. That kind of thing rarely happens anymore. I blame the Internet. It used to be you'd go to a game in early May and -- whoa, already? -- there'd be All-Star ballots. You'd sit there watching the game, voting, not having given a thought to who was having the best year at various positions. Best year? Best month or six weeks. You voted for the home team and the big stars you'd heard of.

Sometimes, if you remembered, you'd go check the stats in the Sunday paper when you got home. Holy cow, he's hitting .213 with negative-six home runs and 832 errors at first base and I voted for him as the starting catcher? Heh.

Now, you can vote early and often online, where you've just been poring over the stats. Of course your picks are going to be better.

Sure, we can quibble here and there.

Are you really sure about Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr., O wise masses who don't just give the veteran stars a pass anymore? Dustin Pedroia's nice but have you heard of a second baseman in Texas named Ian Kinsler? A Red Sox outfielder should be starting but Manny Ramirez would be the wrong one. Matt Holliday, Pat Burrell and Milton Bradley would all like a word with you.

But overall, pretty good. As usual. Players like Kinsler who get done in by market forces will be named as reserves, and the big roster controversy will be over which not-quite-All-Star types are going to grab the last few spots. Yawn.

I miss those old days of crazy totals. Nice job on Jeter and Griffey, people. But come on. Just for old time's sake: We've still got a few hours left, so how about a couple of hundred thousand votes for Carlos Delgado and Travis Hafner?

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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