It is that time of year, time for MLB to publish the All-Star ballot for our voting pleasure. Or your scrutinizing displeasure depending on who you are. While it can be fun to cast votes for your favorite players, it can also be a painful exercise due to all the annual annoyances in the ballot.
For example, the good folks at MLB just can't seem to perform the simple task of getting the right players on the ballot. The most obvious issue is with injured players. Now, it is understood that these ballots need to be finalized for printing at some point, but given the technological era we live in and the amount of online voting involved, you'd think the MLB big wigs could find a way to develop a more dynamic ballot that isn't littered with players who haven't played all this year.
2013 is no exception as the ballot is awash in players who haven't so much as touched a big league field yet:
Mark Teixeira – Out until May 1st… not really, but let's keep pretending that will happen.
Casey Kotchman – Out with a stupidity-induced injury, not that he was ever going to get votes anyway.
Corey Hart - On the shelf for months.
Stephen Drew - How about we just always assume Drew family members will be too hurt to play and ban them from all future All-Star ballots.
Hanley Ramirez - The Dodgers have enough money, make them pay to reprint the ballot with someone other than the injured HanRam on the ballot.
Brian McCann – Because of this clerical error, El Oso Blanco is getting screwed in the ballot box.
Carlos Ruiz – Suspended for 25 games, so it isn't like this came by surprise.
Curtis Granderson – What do you know? Another injured Yankee!
Derek Jeter – Heaven forbid an All-Star ballot not have Derek Jeter on it even when he is unlikely to even be healthy in time for the Mid-summer Classic. It wouldn't be a shock if he still appears on the ballot after his retirement.
Delmon Young – We actually approve of this inclusion in light of the burgeoning effort on the internet to get Delmon voted into the game.
Adam Eaton – Since he is a rookie, you can't even justify his inclusion based on career track record.
Luke Scott – With all the platoon players the Rays employ, you'd think they could pick someone who is actually healthy and playing. But you have to appeal to the Tea Party, right?
But injured players aren't the only names on the ballot that make you scratch your head upon seeing them. There are a number of players on the ballot for no good reason at all.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – In all fairness, no Met outfielder deserves to be on the ballot, but Nieuwenhuis isn't even in the majors anymore.
Brett Wallace - Speaking of sent to the minors.
Chris Stewart - More brilliance from the Yankees as Stewart gets the ballot not despite Francisco Cervelli getting the lion's share of the starts behind the dish. I'm sure he feels loved.
Jamey Carroll – He lost his starting job to the illustrious Brian Dozier, but he gets to keep his ballot spot because… seniority? Scrappy? Justify his contract? Yeah, don't really know.
Of course we would be remiss if we didn't consider the other side of the spectrum and review all of the notable players left off of the ballot for reasons that aren't entirely clear aside from the obvious fact that this whole process is whacked out:
Evan Gattis – As previously mentioned, MLB, in a stroke of genius marketing, failed to provide themselves with a backdoor to be able to place the feel good story of the year on the ballot. Heaven forbid!
Daniel Nava – He has been something of a surprise contributor this year, so this isn't a major offense. But still, would anyone really lose any sleep if the next run of ballots had Nava listed instead of Jonny Gomes?
Seth Smith – We realize that the A's have too many outfielder-DH types, but leaving out a guy with a slugging percentage over .600 seems like a mistake.
Kurt Suzuki - Once again we see teams unable to figure out who their primary backstop will be as Suzuki got snubbed in favor of his back-up, Wilson Ramos.
Vernon Wells - Nobody could have seen Wells being good again coming, but one could argue that he should have been included anyway in order to corner the comedy vote.
Justin Ruggiano - This one might be my favorite. Marlins owner and world-class scumbag Jeffrey Loria pitched a fit last season when Miami's lone All-Star representative was dropped from the roster due to injury. Loria felt they should've been able to replace that player with another Marlin so that they had a representative. The player he stumped for was Justin Ruggiano. Yet here we are several months and one roster purge later and Loria couldn't even convince his own team to submit Ruggiano for a place on the ballot. Got to get Chris Coghlan some All-Star love, am I right?
The real cream of the crop here in terms of both a shining example of ballot inconsistency and curious marketing moves is the conspicuous absence on the ballot of a a certain future Hall of Famer by the name of Alex Rodriguez. Yes, he is injured, but that didn't stop the Yanks from putting the rest of their disabled list on the ballot. Gosh, if only there were some other plausible reason that MLB and the Yankees might want to distance themselves from A-Rod…
Keep it up, MLB. You are truly doing the Lord's work.