Buster Olney, from an ESPN.com column of last week, offering a little perspective to those who flip their lids over the prospect of Mike Piazza or Tino Martinez winning starting spots on their respective All-Star teams.
So Mike Piazza will probably be voted into the starting lineup, at a time when his performance doesn’t really merit election, because many young fans and casual fans pick him. Big deal. It’s for an exhibition game. Cal Ripken kept getting picked for All-Star Games beyond the time when he was an effective player, but you know what? Big deal. If fans want to see them play, so be it. Those players did enough earlier in their careers to earn that kind of stature; they earned it, somewhere along the way.
I think we can live with third basemen getting picked on name recognition, because, after all, we pick presidents with a similar standard; the Republicans nominated an ex-president’s son in 2000, and the Democrats will strongly consider the wife of an ex-president in 2008. Does anybody think those candidates are absolutely the best possible choices, on achievement and merit alone? The All-Star selections will be imperfect, undoubtedly. The system is imperfect. Somebody who should be there is going to get stiffed. But the choices represent the will of the voters “ the fans “ and you defer to their will, including the small-town 10-year-olds who may not have the most perfect sources of information.
For the readers: Do you agree that there is no perfect system? If not, what would you propose? (And keep in mind that when the voting was put in the hands of players in the past, those selections were also imperfect).
I think the NL and AL All-Star squads should be selected by an expert committee comprised of John Kruk, Jeanie Zelasko, Regis “I’ve Never Heard Of Ben Sheets” Philbin, Billy Corgan (still haven’t watched his “Soundcheck” featurette on BBTN from last Sunday, saving it for a special occasion) and the late Richard M. Nixon.