Dan's Dugout: Fix the All-Star Selection Process • Latino Sports

Baseball

Dan’s Dugout: Fix the All-Star Selection Process

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All-Star voting should not start in April.

Never mind that fans should not be encouraged to vote early and vote often.

This isn’t Honduras, where corruption reeks through the halls of every official agency.

Commissioner Rob Manfred could fix some All-Star problems

Commissioner Rob Manfred could fix some All-Star problems

If sophomore Commissioner Rob Manfred really wanted to make his mark, he’d stop the silly process in its tracks and return the vote to the players.

Before 1969, when Bowie Kuhn decided to turn All-Star selection into a carnival without rules, starters were selected by vote of the players, coaches, and managers. To ensure objectivity, they were not permitted to vote for their teammates.

It was one man, one vote. When the pros voted, ballot-box stuffing was impossible.

Not so when the fans too a previous swing at the process. In 1957, Cincinnati fans — spurred on by local media and Crosley Field promotions — elected eight Reds as starters.

Commissioner Ford Frick, infuriated and embarrassed, unilaterally added Hank Aaron and Willie

Hank Aaron was named to a record 25 All-Star teams

Hank Aaron was named to a record 25 All-Star teams

Mays over fan choices Gus Bell and Wally Post. Then he told the fans what they could do with their ballot boxes.

For years, players considered selection an honor because it was by vote of their peers. Now it is a travesty, with fans able to sit at computer keys and vote for the same names over and over again.

In their wisdom, fans have twice elected players hitting less than .200 (Davey Lopes and Reggie Jackson), not to mention athletes who had retired or should have.

Under the current convoluted system, fans pick the starters plus the last man on each squad from a list of five candidates. Managers, with input from coaches, pick the pitchers and subs. There are always changes — especially since pitchers who work the Sunday before the Tuesday game are barred from participating.

To compound the felony of fan involvement, FOX has added the issue of home-field advantage, meaning the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home-field advantage in the World Series.

The 2016 game is slated for July 12 in San Diego

The 2016 game is slated for July 12 in San Diego

Manfred needs to address that too — and go back to the system of alternating between leagues.

And one other thing the Commissioner should do: get rid of the rule that requires at least one player from each team in the league.

With the Atlanta Braves on pace to lose 132 games and post the worst winning percentage of the modern era, there’s not a single man on that squad who deserves a ticket to San Diego on July 12.

There are some other clubs too not worthy of sending anyone to the game.

Let’s have the best vote, the best players, the best game, and the best World Series.

And start the damn thing earlier too — like on a Sunday afternoon instead of a Tuesday night.

The more people that watch, the better it is for the future of the game.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Trying to stay afloat a wee bit longer, the good ship S.S. Yankee listed even more when DH Alex

The Yankees will miss the power of Alex Rodriguez

The Yankees will miss the power of Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez went onto the disabled list, thereby weakening a weak offense . . .

Anyone notice that Chris Heston, who pitched a no-hitter against the Mets for the Giants a couple of years ago, is now toiling in the minor leagues? . . .

Patching up an injured pitching staff is such an acute need for the Los Angeles Angels that they might be willing to package anyone — including Mike Trout — for the right return . . .

The New York Mets, who never seem to play well on the West Coast, started their current swing with two straight losses to the hapless San Diego Padres . . .

Bud Black, who has pitched and managed in the majors, may be the front-runner to succeed Fredi Gonzalez as manager of the Atlanta Braves . . .

Evan Gattis will soon be a big-league catcher again

Evan Gattis will soon be a big-league catcher again

After leading the Houston Astros in home runs and RBI last year, Evan Gattis has returned to Double-A for a refresher course in catching, his position when he first reached the majors with the Braves . . .

Starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (Mets) may be the oldest man in the majors at age 43 but he’s showing no signs of age other than heft.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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