I’m sure you’ve read all the blogs and heard all the folks hooting at the idea of the American League All Star team being predominantly members of the Kansas City Royals. I understand their pain. I wouldn’t want to see an All Star Game if every player was from New York or LA.
But here’s what I wouldn’t do: violate the Tom Hanks Rule. There is no crying in baseball! I find myself forced to agree with Ned Yost on this whole thing–if you don’t like it, vote! Then shut up about it. (The last part was me, not Ned.)
Seriously, my point is that the people bleating about how this situation is corrupting the process and ruining the midsummer classic frankly don’t understand the midsummer classic at all. It’s an All-Star Game. All-STAR. What makes a star? Popularity, not talent. Paris Hilton is a star. Justin Bieber is a star. Tiny Tim was a star. You get the idea.
The All-Star Game started back in 1933 as an event to give baseball an economic shot in the arm by reviving interest the Great American Pastime in the depths of the Great Depression. Proceeds were donated to a fund for retired players. In order to get people interested, Arch Ward, the Sports Editor of the Chicago Tribune, designed the contest as one where the fans would vote for their favorite players. (The Game was also a means to publicize the Century of Progress World’s Fair being held in Chicago at the time.) It wasn’t for the fans to pick the best or the most deserving, it was the favorites. If the Royals’ players get the most votes, we’re at the end of the analysis and the only conclusion can be that they are deserving.
Now should Omar Infante play? In my opinion, yes he should, if he gets the most votes. Is he the best second baseman in the AL? Heck, no. Frankly, I’m not even sure he’s the best second baseman on the Royals. But if he gets the votes, he’s an All-Star.
So really, I think one should only take the furor and fume someone is making over the situation seriously if he or she made the same indignant noise last year when Derek Jeter played. It’s a popularity contest friends and neighbors. And if the American League is represented by it’s reigning Champions, that simply doesn’t sound like that bad of a thing to me.