All-Star Voting: The Kids’ Picks Are In
This is already my favorite All-Star game ever and it hasn’t been played yet. Ripken getting to play shortstop? Reggie’s last at-bat? Fred Lynn’s homer? All distant seconds in the memory bank.
This year is my favorite because my two kids helped me vote for the first time and then rejoiced when they found out they could vote multiple times.
I’m impressed. For the most part, they did not allow team allegiances to the Dodgers and A’s cloud their judgment…with the exception of a vote for Cody Bellinger and a lot of votes for Matt Olson and maybe one for Chris Taylor. Considering they maxed out their votes allowed, I think they did okay…certainly better than the hosers who vote for their team to represent every position.
Also, somewhat surprisingly, they for the most part considered the totality of a player’s performance above home runs during their deliberations. So, no Judge. No Sanchez. No Gallo. Good lord. Joey Gallo is hitting .192. Rob Deer is appalled.
So, in the American League outfield, we chose Boston’s Mookie Betts, the Angels’ Mike Trout, and Cleveland’s Michael Brantley. Wish I’d print-screened the ballot because Trout was not unanimous. I swear there was a vote for Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall and Matt Duffy in there too? The Twins’ Eddie Rosario has to be the team’s lone representative and that’s okay. He’s earned it.
On the infield Baltimore’s Manny Machado took most of the votes at third. Francisco Lindor and Seattle’s Jean Segura split votes at shortstop, Jose Altuve got a vote from Dad, but most of the love at second base went to Oakland’s Jed Lowrie. At first base, my daughter insisted on one vote for the Angels’ Albert Pujols but most of the votes went to Matt Olson, though I insisted on a couple for the White Sox’ Jose Abreu. At catcher, Wilson Ramos got a lot of love as did J.D. Martinez for designated hitter.
I know it’s coming, so I’ll brace myself for the complaint that Martinez isn’t a true designated hitter. There is an irony in a self-described purist talking about the designated hitter, ignoring the fact the DH isn’t in both leagues and has been around for less than half of baseball’s existence.
In the National League outfield, Matt Kemp was unanimous,sd with several votes for Pittsburgh’s Corey Dickerson and an occasional vote for Atlanta’s Nick Markakis, Christian Yelich and Miami’s Derek Dietrich. Albert Almora Jr. should be in there too.
Nolan Arenado at third, Brandon Crawford at shortstop (with a single vote for Chris Taylor), Scooter Gennett at second and Freddie Freeman at first (with the aforementioned vote for Bellinger, one for St. Louis’ Jose Martinez and a dad vote for Joey Votto). JT Realmuto was uananimous at catcher.
So what does it mean? A couple of kids looked at the overall performance of the players at each position and made really good choices. Of course, we didn’t look at defensive statistics. I don’t recall seeing those on my ballot.
I know the paper ballot will not return to a ballpark near me, not that it really needs to. For me, online voting has been a somewhat cold end of a general, hazy, fondish, warmish feeling of filling out a ballot at a game and sending it in.
As I try to imagine how picking teams at the park would have gone on the paper ballot with these two urchins, I have to say, being able to take a little time in the kitchen with my kids, albeit with the clock running out on the time remaining to submit a ballot, and hearing them debate the merits of a .328 batting average versus 24 home runs was…awesome.
So, I don’t really care who makes it to the All-Star game this year. I already know who the winner is.