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The good and bad of all-star fan voting

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Baseball has entered the annual day after the all-star selection snub fest. Which deserving player or players will not be going to the All-Star Game? Which ones have absolutely no business being there?

The Rays’ Alex Colome has the numbers to back up his selection. He has certainly done all that is asked of him by saving all 19 of his opportunities with a 1.71 earned average.

Evan Longoria deserved some consideration with his 18 home runs and 48 runs batted in, which is what he got. He is on the ballot for the Final Vote, competing with four other players for the 35th roster spot.

Miami has pitchers Alex Fernandez and A.J. Ramos. While Ramos is a question mark among a 14-member all-star pitching staff, Fernandez is rock solid.

The Marlins have every reason to wonder about Marcell Ozuna. The center fielder from the Dominican Republic is putting up career-best numbers with a .314 average, 17 home runs and 47 runs batted in.

Controversy will always accompany all-star selections as long as the requirement exists that all 30 teams be represented. Fan voting also presents opportunities for deserving players to be left off, while players having average seasons are voted in.

For example, the entire Chicago Cubs infield, except catcher Buster Posey from the Giants, was voted into the starting lineup for the National League. Addison Russell, with his .242 batting average, was picked instead of the Dodgers’ Corey Seeger, who is having a terrific year.

Former Tampa Bay Ray and current Cub Ben Zobrist was chosen by fans to start at second base. That relegated Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals to a reserve role. Murphy is leading the National League in hitting with a .349 average.

While fan voting is generally a positive, it does create these kinds of situations. They vote for who they wish to see.

If a popular player is having an average or mediocre first half, so be it. Should an all-star be determined merely on the performance over one half of one year? There are plenty on both sides of the issue.

Perhaps sometime in the next decade, the Rays will have a new home with the possibility of hosting an All-Star Game. Better yet, perhaps they would draw fans in sufficient quantities to help vote someone hitting .250 into the starting lineup.

We can dream, can’t we?

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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