For Better, For Worse: Fans have become better All-Star voters
The All-Star Game was a big deal for me when I was a kid. As a fan of a bad team, I didn't have much to look forward to and the game was a real treat in the middle of the summer. The stars were larger than life. In a literal sense, however, they were smaller:
One thing that is better about contemporary All-Star games is the fan voting. The fans have selected the starting lineups for the past 40 All-Star Games. Back in the 1970s and 1980s the fans didn't do such a good job. Big names won out over merit. The ballots might as well have been pre-punched for
Two developments ushered in a new era of sophisticated fan voting. The internet gives fans an online ballot alongside convenient access to stats. Fans are able to check the numbers and cast well-informed votes. The other big factor is fantasy baseball. Fantasy fans are familiar with players in small markets, in both leagues and at every position. The depth of knowledge has never been better. Fantasy baseball deserves a lot of credit for educating the voters. It's a pity voters in political elections are not nearly as knowledgeable.
This season the fans once again did an excellent job choosing the starters. Some choices were easy (
I can complain about only four of the 16 fan selections (