So as our great country continues to navigate through the political division of our recent elections, it appears that our National Pastime is ready to create it’s own turmoil for the 2019 All-Star Game. While this will not be an issue of red or blue, conservative or liberal, the new format of the voting does open up a greater chance for allegiances between fan bases to work against a common opponent.
Voting for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game officially got underway at 1pm CT today, with this first phase of the balloting being labeled as “The Primary”.
Fans must cast their votes exclusively online and through mobile devices at MLB.com, all 30 Club web sites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps and on Google Search (U.S. and Canada only). Fans can submit up to five ballots per 24-hour period on the MLB platforms, and can vote for every position, or up to 17 unique players per day on Google. The voting period for “The Primary” concludes at 3pm CT on Friday, June 21st.
Later that night, the top three vote-getters at each position (and the top nine outfielders) in each League will be revealed on MLB Network, and they will move on to the second phase of voting.
Billed as “The Starters Election”, voting will begin at 11am CT on Wednesday, June 26th, and will allow fans to choose among the finalists at each position during a 28-hour window that concludes at 3pm CT on Thursday, June 27th. Results of “The Starters Election” will be announced that night at 6pm CT on ESPN. During this second phase of All-Star voting, fans can vote once on MLB platforms and submit up to 17 unique player votes on Google, and vote totals will be reset–meaning totals from “The Primary” do not carry over. The winner at each position (including three outfielders per League) will be named a starting position player for the 2019 Midsummer Classic.
We’ve seen the marketing arms of teams work together before to encourage their fanbase to lend support to another team, usually from the other league, for the last player in type of contests but this may take the practice to a much higher level.
Take for instance National League catcher. Whether it be Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, JT Realmuto, Wilson Contreras, or another catcher winning “The Primary” those totals will be erased for “The Starters Election” and it’s hard to imagine the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs fan bases not voting against their respective opponents instead of voting for their own catcher if that player has not made it to the final three. This could create a situation where the player who finished third in “The Primary” voting winds up winning “The Starters Election” in a landslide.
So effectively, a player can win “The Primary” or the popular vote, but then fail to win “The Starters Election” or support of the Electoral College?
On top of that, there is no guarantee that the other two finalists in “The Starters Election” will then be part of the All-Star roster. After the nine starters are selected, the pitchers and reserves for both squads–totaling 24 for the NL and 23 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.
Sure, it’s just an exhibition game. And popularity has won out over substance before, but this new format looks to be inviting collusion amongst the teams and fans.