The Problem With the All-Star Game

Snubs in the MLB All-Star Game are far more frustrating than in any other sport. The Pro Bowl is a complete joke at this point and I don't know anyone who still cares about it, including the NFL itself. It's a vacation to Hawaii for the players, so the picks couldn't matter less. The NBA All-Star Game is a very fun final exhibition in the excellently organized All-Star weekend. You know exactly what you're getting with the game, a layup and dunk competition showing off the league's best players with no particular stakes. Kyle Lowry not making this year's All-Star Game was pretty inexplicable since he was the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, but ultimately it was a non-issue. The problem with the MLB All-Star Game and its snubs are that the league tries to add serious stakes to a game where the fans vote for the starters (almost always irresponsibly) and every team, deserving or not, has to have a representative in the game. The idea that something as serious as World Series home-field advantage will be decided by a hobbled Derek Jeter starting at short or possibly without White Sox ace Chris Sale is infuriating to any fan of the game. I'll highlight the biggest problems with this year's All-Star crew.

Derek Jeter's Last Start

I'm a Red Sox fan, but I have no problem with Derek Jeter for the most part. And in any other situation I love the idea of having guys like Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., or Chipper Jones start their final All-Star game for sentimental reasons. Fans should get a chance to see all-time greats in action for the last time at events like this, and the players have earned it throughout their careers at that point. But if the John Farrell, the AL team manager, is forced to play Jeter for extended time to honor him that could seriously affect the outcome of the game and the World Series. If an undeserving team from the NL ends up with home-field advantage in the World Series, we're going to have an rethink what cost we're willing to pay to honor our greats

Matt Wieters Voted In

Wieters being voted into the starting lineup is an embarrassment for the league and especially for the Orioles. Wieters hasn't even played 40 games at this point in the season and won't be able to play in the game, being replaced in the starting lineup by the Royals' Salvador Perez. The Orioles are notorious for getting fans to vote in swarms for all of their players, something a lot of teams do but the Orioles are egregiously guilty of. I understand where the Orioles come from with campaigns like that, but it only goes farther to reveal everything wrong with the voting process. It's also possible that fans voting online saw his .308 batting average and voted for him without seeing the context of his season. Either way, it's a clear impeachment of the fan voting process.

Chris Sale and Garret Richards Missing the Cut

We won't know until Thursday, but at this point it looks likely that Sale will win the twitter vote for the final spot on the AL roster. However, that doesn't make Sale's exclusion from the original roster anymore right, and it doesn't help the exclusion of Richards at all. Sale hasn't pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title yet, but if he did qualify he'd be second in the AL in ERA (2.16), while Richards has turned into an unlikely workhorse and ace for the Angels. I hate to say it, but I can't imagine Twins middle reliever Glen Perkins, with only a decent 3.22 ERA over 62 innings, would've made the cut if the All-Star Game wasn't hosted in Minnesota this year. It'd make sense if he was the Twins only representative, but Kurt Suzuki was also voted in so Perkins inclusion wasn't necessary. It's a shame he'll make it instead of one of these more deserving candidates.

Yadier Molina Over Jonathan Lucroy

Another fan base famous for getting the vote out, the Cardinal faithful succeeded in getting Yadier Molina to start in the All-Star Game for the fourth time. I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate Molina's amazing late-career revival, but Molina's start is coming at the expense of amazing young Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Lucroy has a legitimate case for MVP this season, batting .329 and slugging .516, numbers out of this world for a catcher. Yadier is the master of handling pitchers, but Lucroy is also an excellent defensive catcher, and whatever small edge Yadier has defensively, Lucroy more than makes up for it with his bat. Don't be surprised if Lucroy ends up winning NL MVP and this choice ends up looking a lot sillier in retrospect.