John Smoltz and Andruw Jones were selected to represent their team on the NL All-Star team Sunday.
Inexplicably, so were Scott Rolen (who has been injured), Carlos Beltran (who has played consistently poorly), and Cesar Izturis (good defense, I guess?) , leaving notable players like Morgan Ensberg (22hr, 59rbi, 287/385/588), Pat Burrell (17hr, 61rbi, 287/377/519), and Jose Guillen (17hr, 46rbi, 310/359/545) to enjoy a three-day vacation and watch the game on TV.
I think it's time to alleviate the fans of the full responsibility of selecting the All-Star starters, because year after year fans and analysts seem to agree that the main problem with the selection process is that undeserving players are selected to start. If you take those mistakes out of the equation, then the only snubs are less significant, because there are fewer undeserving elected starters stealing their spots, which also leaves more room for All-Star managers to adjust the roster to fit one player for every team.
I think I have a simple solution:
- Let the fans' vote and players/coaches' vote be weighed exactly equally. Add the percentage of votes each player receives on the fan ballots to the percentage of votes he receives on the player/coach ballots. The players with the most combined percentage points wins the starting job.
- If you announce the result of the players/coaches' vote just a day or two earlier than the fans' vote, then we get a good idea of who the starters will be. The fans vote will have the greatest effect on close races in the player/coach voting, while undeserving players (like Rolen and Beltran this year) wouldn't have enough player/coach votes to come close to being selected.
- While we're at it, let's add pitchers to the ballot. (If there's no room on the paper ballots, then make it online-only.) Choose three starting pitchers, one middle relief pitcher, and one closer. The managers can choose the other pitchers.
- And let's have some respect for the AL's designated hitters and leave them on the ballot even in non-DH years. They can still be used as pinch hitters and some can still play defense somewhere, so there's no reason why they shouldn't be granted that recognition.
Of course, none of this explains why Tony LaRussa selected Cesar Izturis over Morgan Ensberg.