How come you get to vote up to 25 times for All Star selections? Is one vote per person less democratic?
MLB made $6.1 billion in revenue in 2010. 28% of that revenue ($1.7 billion), came from the New York Yankees. The Phillies and Red Sox place in the top six most valuable franchises. Until the Wilpons’ recent financial issues, the Mets also figured into this top tier of baseball royalty.
When you look at these clubs, you notice they have two things in common. Number one, they generate large amounts of revenue for MLB and number two, they all belong to large east coast cities. These two facts are closely related and this fact has not slipped MLB’s notice.
How do you keep a bunch of super-rich clubs happy? Simple. You make sure that their players get elected to the All-Star game.
With fan voting and internet voting, of course the large metropolitan areas and the teams with large fan bases are going to ensure that their players get voted on to the All-Star roster. Whether or not they belong there is an entirely different story.
As of 29 June, the leading vote getter among AL catchers was Russell Martin of the Yankees. Martin’s batting average at this same point was .230, 10 points below the league average and 73 points lower than the second place catcher, Alex Avila of the Tigers. Similarly, Derek Jeter sat half a million votes in front of Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera while Cabrera sat about 40 points ahead of Jeter in terms of average among AL shortstops.
The list goes on and on but the fact of the matter is, the story would be the same whether fans had only 1 opportunity to vote or 50. MLB consciously made the choice to allow this because MLB is a business and businesses have to grow or die.
We could go back to the old way of choosing the All-Star team, the method they used before 1970. Back then the players, coaches and managers voted on the All-Stars and this more or less insured that the best players, as opposed to the most popular, made the team. But the fans weren’t all that interested. They wanted to see “their” guys playing in the mid-summer classic, whether or not they were the best. And because baseball is a business, baseball gave the vote back to the fans.
Should Russell Martin and Derek Jeter start for the AL this year? Statistically, absolutely not. But baseball is business and that means the answer has to be reformatted. Should Russell Martin and Derek Jeter start for the AL this year? Monetarily, without a doubt.
So, Nathan, the answer to your question is that giving fans 1 vote or 25 votes is actually equally democratic. But if you go further and ask the question, “Does democracy work in the context of MLB All-Star voting,” you already have your answer. The answer is Russell Martin.
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