All-Star voting has always been imperfect, and in continues to be now that All-Stars are determined less by a player’s actual performance and more by how skilled a player’s team has gotten at getting their fans to stuff the ballot box. Really, it is just annoying to see guys like Russell Martin leading his position at voting despite hitting .238.
What’s even more annoying is that it is never the Angels who benefit from the ballot-stuffing measures.
Do we lack the passion? Do we lack the smarts?
Or do we value our vote too much to blindly cast them for any player with “LA Angels” next to their name like the lemming in New York, Boston and Texas see fit to do?
When it comes to failing to support my beloved Halos in the All-Star voting booth, I am as guilty as anyone. I cast my hypothetical All-Star ballot last week, and I saw fit to vote for only one Angel position palyer.
The more discerning fans out there would argue that is one too Angel too many given just how poor the Halo offense has performed this season. I won’t even try and make a case to vote for any Angel outfielder or catcher. But certainly we can give some of the infielders a little love?
Howie Kendrick is arguably having the best season of any AL second baseman, his DL stint not withstanding. Erick Aybar isn’t have the kind of year Asdrubal Cabrera is having, but its been good enough to throw him a few votes. The same goes for Maicer Izturis, who has been far better than Brandon Inge who is fifth in voting at third base despite being on the DL with a .565 OPS.
They may not be great. They may not deserve to start the All-Star Game or even make the roster, but they do deserve to know that they have the fans’ support.
Yet they don’t. Not even close. The latest AL voting results have ZERO Angels anywhere in the top five at any position, including the top fifteen outfielders. For a market as big as Los Angeles/Anaheim, that isn’t just the fans being indifferent, that is the fans holding an informal boycott.
Just because Angel fans don’t mindlessly vote for their own players every chance they get, regardless of whether or not they deserve it, it doesn’t mean they can’t mobilize when there is a need to do so. Back in 2009, the Halo faithful rallied to try and vote the likes of Torii Hunter and Chone Figgins into the Mid-Summer Classic when it became apparent that the host Angels might be without representation in the starting lineup. That initiative fell just short in both cases, but not before sending both players rocketing up the standings. It didn’t get them the starting nod but it showed they had the fan’s respect and support, leading to both being selected as a reserve.
Now though, that groundswell of support is sorely lacking and I can’t help but think it has everything to do with the team’s in-season performance and off-season failings. It might be fun to think that Angel fans are just being noble by not voting for underperforming players, but this lack of votes is so total and complete, that it has to represent something more than a refuasal to vote for guys with mediocre stats.
The desire to vote by team allegiance has been torn away by night after night of stranded baserunners, disappointing veterans and wildly inconsistent youngsters. Anyone who watches most every Angels game knows that it is like voluntarily submitting yourself to Chinese water torture. And then listening to Angel management shower our ears with cliches and platitudes after every frustrating loss, it is just too much.
I’d be awfully concerned about that if I were Angel management. For now, the fans are basically protesting in silence by withholding their votes. If this keeps up, the silence will eventually be broken. It may not be this year or even next, but it will happen, and you can bet the fans will do more than just fail to cast All-Star ballots.