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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

MLB All-Star Final Vote process loses any credibility

The lengths to which Major League Baseball is going to generate interest in the All-Star Game have crossed the line, in my opinion.

It has been over a decade since the Final Vote was created. The move to allow fans to select the last player on each league’s roster was made in part to deflect annual criticism that deserving players are left off the teams.

Of course, that will continue to be the case no matter what size to which the rosters are expanded. They are now at 34 players per league after being 30 when the Final Vote first began in 2002.

Then, there is the business value of the millions of clicks on the mother ship’s website as votes are being cast, first for the starters, then for the final player. That advantage surely was not lost on MLB’s suits.

Individual team marketing departments have taken an expanded role in the balloting. This is currently evidenced by the Final Vote, as faux campaigns to bring out the fan vote are being created.

For example, the Cardinals and White Sox, not satisfied with getting their own fans engaged, developed a contrived alliance specifically for the Final Vote. The intent is to encourage South Side followers to vote for Cardinal David Freese while Redbirds fans are asked for vote for Jake Peavy.

The vast majority of these voters have likely never seen the players for whom they are being asked to vote. The few Sox fans who remember Freese probably have memories of his 2011 World Series heroics, while this vote is for the 2012 All-Star team. But why should any of that matter, right?

On Thursday, the final day of the Final Vote, MLB took matters one step farther. They essentially declared war on Twitter and those who actually hope to find useful information there.

Specifically, MLB proclaimed that any tweets from noon to 4 PM ET by anyone that uses the special twitter tags for each eligible player will be counted as valid Final Votes.

Expect to see the “fail whale” during that time as fired-up fans cast their votes in blitzkrieg fashion. In doing so, some are risking suspension of their Twitter privileges.

According to posted Twitter rules, users can make up to 1,000 tweets per day, but the daily limit is further broken down into smaller limits for semi-hourly intervals. The specifics of the latter are undefined.

I get that Freese is deserving of an all-star berth and fans want to help make that happen, but the process has clearly gotten out of hand. In my opinion, the Final Vote result, for whoever it will be, is devalued by the method of its creation.

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25 Responses to “MLB All-Star Final Vote process loses any credibility”

  1. blingboy says:

    I have always understood the ‘final vote’ thing to be a gimmick to churn up interest. At the least it could be as much about popularity as anything. Trying to engage the twitter generation at the expense of ‘credibility’ in choosing the final player might not be so bad.

    As much as I hate all things Cincinatti, I have always admired how the Enquirer figured out how to stuff the ballot box in the late 50s and elect 7 Reds out of the 8 starting position players. Only Stan the Man couldn’t be taken down.

    In the 90s, somebody hacked the system and flooded the e-ballot box with computer generated votes for Garciaparra. I applaud that effort as well. Enthusiastic fans.

    As a lad in the early 70s, I spent considerable time and effort figuring out which of the AL players on the ballot would make the worst team so I could vote accordingly. I’m sure there were AL fans doing the opposite.

    Good luck to Freese, hope he makes it, by whatever means.

  2. crdswmn says:

    Stop the fan voting, and that will solve the problem. Otherwise, it is what it is.

    I didn’t intend to join the Twitter vote but the sanctimonious snarking from the detractors just got my goat. The process is there, like it or not. Don’t like it? Don’t participate, but denigrating those who do just makes you a douche.

    I am not talking about you Brian, I’m talking about certain people on Twitter who couldn’t just leave it alone for the few hours it was going on, but had to be nasty about it. Like that was going to stop it.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I understand people were just exercising their right to tweet. I could also decide to unfollow them, which in several cases, I did. My biggest problem was with the people who used the #stlcards hashtag for the silliness, which made it impossible to ignore them. I finally just left Twitter during that time and chased kids off my lawn instead. ;-)

      • crdswmn says:

        Well, I hope you didn’t unfollow me because of it. ;) I only did if for a while to piss some people off and I did try to entertain people by tweeting Monty Python quotes with the #FreesePlease hashtag. :)

        • jabbott21 says:

          I think the entire process is a joke, as such, I took the opportunity to both use the system, while poking fun. Rather than Monty Python quotes (which I enjoyed very much, thank you), I went with Blazing Saddles, while using the #FreesePlease & #TakeJake hashtags. To be clear, I am a Jake Peavy fan. I was hoping the Cards would have gotten him when the Padres were shopping him. Given the injuries he has battled through, I’m rather glad they didn’t, but I still like the guy. As for the contention (and valid point) about getting White Sox fans to vote for Freese & Cards fans for Peavy, even though the respective fan bases see very little of the other team, you are correct. However, the entire process of fan voting is just as big of a joke. Is the Cardinals teaming up with the White Sox and telling me to vote for Freese & Peavy really any worse than all the people that voted for Tyler Greene? Really? C’mon, I love my Cardinals, but the thought of voting for Tyler Greene for anything more than a DFA makes me want to vomit. A very large number of people only go on to vote for “their guys”. It IS a popularity contest. I remember when Nomar was with the Cubs a few years back. He was in second for votes, in spite of having spent almost the entire first half of the season on the DL combined with his stellar sub-.200 average at the time. Personally, I think the fan vote should be eliminated. Also this silly crap about home field advantage for the World Series should be done away with. Bud Selig for all his attempts to bring more interest to the All-Star game, has mostly made it an even bigger joke than it was, IMO.

  3. crdswmn says:

    David Freese won the Final vote.

  4. WesPowell says:

    Please. I’m still enjoying LaRussa not picking Cueto.

    • Nutlaw says:

      An ESPN story the other day referenced TLR not liking Cueto due to him giving LaRue a “minor concussion”, as though those kicks didn’t end the guy’s career. Cueto is lucky that he isn’t in jail.

    • kray66 says:

      Yeah, I’m still hoping LaRussa excluded Cueto specifically for that reason. He may have All-Star stats (even that’s debatable) but he doesn’t deserve the title.

  5. crdswmn says:

    Guess what the latest LaRussa conspiracy theory is? LaRussa put Chipper Jones on the ballot to begin with, knowing that he would take votes away from Michael Bourn, but then removed Chipper by naming him to team, which allowed Freese to take the lead and keep Bourn from catching up because of the two days Chipper was on the ballot. And LaRussa’s grudge against the Braves is? Who the heck knows.

  6. blingboy says:

    Matt Carpenter plays 2B tonight, the fourth different second baseman in four games. All have batted 8th with the rest of the lineup staying the same.

  7. WesPowell says:

    2nd base has much more often than not been a little wierd for us since divisional play began. Vina was pretty tough and Tommy Herr was too, he knocked in 110 runs one year. But usually it’s been a question mark during the off-season and during the year.

  8. WesPowell says:

    How many guys have we tried at that position since 1969?

  9. CariocaCardinal says:

    gotta believe that Lynn move to the pen is just around the corner ……..

  10. JumboShrimp says:

    Browning has now thrown 4 innings in the major leagues. He has awarded zero walks and zero hits. His WHIP is zero. He is working, incrementally, on a perfect game. He spins his stuff and down the batters go.

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    Set them uo, Motte them diwn

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