By Ted Gay – @TedG63
I have been a Red Sox fan since the early 70’s. I know other fans dislike us because we think we are better than they are, which, unfortunately for them, is true.
One of the ways we are better is how we vote for the all-star team. Boston fans are knowledgeable, and unlike the yahoos in Kansas City, Atlanta, Tampa, and some other cities, we vote for performance and not laundry. Unfortunately, in recent years, management has been pushing the idea that, if we don’t vote for players wearing the Sox uniform we are coming up short as fans.
Of course, I am going to vote for Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. I would vote for them whichever team they played for. If it were the Yankees, it would be a hard vote to cast, but I would still do it.
And I tend to give the nod to Red Sox players if there is a thin difference between their performance and the players above them. I would consider someone who voted for Jackie Bradley Jr to be a homer and a person who voted for Andrew Benintendi to be a fan who sees Benintendi as the fourth-best outfielder in the American League and will not give Aaron Judge a vote on general principles. There is nothing wrong with that.
Even voting for Mitch Moreland can be justified even though he is a platoon player. There is no outstanding first baseman this season, and Moreland’s numbers are amongst the best at his position.
If you find yourself voting for anyone else on the Red Sox you might be a homer, and would be more comfortable rooting in a hooplehead city like Tampa.
Being an all-star is not as prestigious as it was in the pre-1970’s. Expansion, and the foolish rule that each time must be represented at the game has caused all-star teams to be filled with marginal players who have put together a decent three months over Hall-Of-Fame caliber players who are underperforming or past their prime. Fans would rather see Albert Pujols, Felix Hernandez, Adrian Beltre and Madison Bumgarner in an all-star game then be introduced to the players that stat heads insist are all-star worthy like Brian Anderson, Joe Jiminez, Octavio Suarez, Adam Ottavino, and Josh Hader one of whom I just made up and if you know which one you get to move to the head of the baseball class. These no name players usually are on the field in late-inning high-pressure situations which is like having the final minute of the NBA all-star game played with Buddy Hield, Joe Ingles, Donte DiVincenzo, Sidney Deane and Miles Bridges on the court. Neither ending will keep the much desired casual fan watching.
If you are JD Martinez, Mookie Betts, Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale going to this year’s game does it cheapen the experience to know you are following in the steps of other Sox all-stars like Tom Burgmeier, Scott Cooper, Erik Hanson, Jose Offerman, and Mark Clear?
Maybe an all-star game should actually have all-stars instead of being a bygone idea slowly starving on the vine.
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