I’m starting to change my mind.
I’ve always thought it was Joe Torre. After all, he’s the one who selected players for the team not because they deserved to be there, but because they were Yankees. (His answer, not mine) He’s the one who had to come up with creative ways to get his Yankees players into the game, and the starters out of the game. (Again, his answer, not mine.) So, that really accelerated the whole “starter plays maybe two innings so the scrubs can play too” problem baseball has. It’s because of that style that Torre actually ran out of players, making a game end in a tie. It’s because of that that the best All-Star game in professional sports is weakened every year because players who have no business being there are playing most of the game. It’s awful.
But, I’m starting to change my mind.
I think it might have been Nick Swisher.
Remember when Swisher won the final vote for the team, beating out Kevin Youkilis in 2010? He was credited with winning because of his social media presence. Every report after his selection said the reason he was selected was his massive twitter following. He was able to reach 1.3 million people telling them to vote for him. That’s why he won. Every article about his selection credited his stats. Not his baseball stats. When they talked about Joey Votto winning the vote in the NL, they mentioned his baseball stats. No, when they talked about Swisher, it was all about his Twitter stats. MLB couldn’t have been more proud of him for making the team based solely on his popularity.
Now I see the mess that is the 2015 All-Star selection process, and think…this is all Swisher’s fault.
Everyone kept complaining that the Royals were stuffing the box. They were getting too many players on the team. Baseball needed to fix it. But, they were ignoring the real problem. The problem wasn’t the Royals fans voting too much. They problem is that it’s exactly what MLB wants. That’s why they still let fans vote. That’s why they opened up internet voting. They don’t care about the quality of the game. They only care about the buzz around the game.
Which is why they’ve come up with that annoying hashtag voting that is clogging up my timeline a full four days before the votes even count. That’s why MLB doesn’t care that the worst SS in the AL is starting the game while the best one didn’t even make it. Would the twitter buzz be anything close to what it is now if Xander was inserted as the starter? Would my timeline have been all Sox all the time on a Monday off day if the team was selected properly using numbers and talent?
If that’s what MLB wants, I guess that’s their call. If they want the All-Star game to just be about buzz, it’s their decision. I wonder if they’ve noticed that it doesn’t work for the other leagues. The NFL is the most buzz-centric sport in history, and nobody watches the Pro Bowl. But, if that’s what MLB wants, I can’t stop them.
Just stop telling me Jeter should be in the Hall of Fame because of his all-star game appearances. They don’t mean a player is any good anymore.
God help us if the Hall of Fame ever goes to hashtag voting.
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