It’s finally time for the best mid-season event in all of sports, the Home Run Derby. Yes, it surpassed the NBA Dunk Contest — that happened when Blake Griffin tried throwing one down over a Kia.
But before that, is Monday’s Mid-Summer Classic where the best in baseball showcase their talents to the masses. While each team has to have at least one representative, it’s safe to assume the best of the best litter the rosters. With that, it’s also safe to think that the top-ranked teams in the league would get the nod from their fans, right?
Not the Red Sox, Brewers or Dodgers, because half of the first-place teams in the league didn’t accrue enough votes to elect a starter to their respective All-Star teams.
That being said, the Red Sox will send three players (Mookie Betts, Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel) to Miami, with shortstop Xander Bogaerts missing out on making the team for the second straight year in the American League's final vote. The Dodgers will send four players (Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Cody Bellinger) to the game, but the Brew Crew only has one (Corey Knebel).
Milwaukee makes sense, but the other two are head scratchers given they are major markets. But let’s give the Los Angeles fans a pass, since we all know the majority of them don't show until the fifth inning or later.
But, Boston is supposed to have one of the best fan bases in the country. If NESN ratings dropping 20 percent was indication, that’s not the case anymore. That should hammer home the idea that Red Sox baseball isn’t capturing fans like it did 10 years ago.
This could be part of a greater issue that baseball has concerned itself with over the years, or it could just be ebbs and flows within New England, especially with the Patriots playing as well as they have since Tom Brady arrived.
Regardless, this exposes the flaws within the fan-vote system. There's no greater representation than Mike Trout beating out Mookie Betts to start in the game. This isn’t a debate of who’s been the better player throughout their careers — even if Betts should’ve won MVP honors last year over Trout, but that's another story for another day. Trout has only played 47 games this year and hasn’t seen the field since May 28, but his 16 homers and .337 average and 1.203 were obviously very impressive to that point. On the ohter hand, Betts has more a month and a half of more playing time.
In the 36 games Betts has played since Trout went down, he’s hit .287, knocking in 21 runners and leaving the yard eight times.
Missing that much playing time has to account for something and Betts’ durability should, too — especially when you consider C.C. Sabathia threw 40 1/3 inning more than Josh Beckett in 2007, and that somehow was a factor among most voters.
The fan vote has the benefit of involving the masses, which is great in a way, but it shouldn't come at the cost of deserving players missing out on the nod just because their fans are less engaged or the player plays for a small-market team.
Like most things in baseball, something has to change when it comes to the selection process for the All-Star Game.
Follow Nick Friar on Twitter @Nick_Friar