Kansas City thought it could outsmart a flawed system of voting for the MLB All-Star Game this year without any ramifications. They thought wrong.
When those four, five or, god forbid, six Royals step on the field in Cincinnati on July 14, their 16th ranked offense will let the entire American League down – since the game decides home field advantage in the World Series.
Earlier in the month of June, as many as eight Kansas City Royals led fan voting for starting spots on the American League. This meant that one spot on the team was up for grabs for either the reigning Most Valuable Player Mike Trout, 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera or 2014 batting and stolen bases champion Jose Altuve.
And that’s leaving out Texas designated hitter Prince Fielder’s and Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis’ .347 and .346 batting average, or Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira’s 54 runs batted in and Angles first baseman Albert Pujols’ A.L. leading 24 home runs.
On June 29, three days before the voting deadline, the number of Royals starters was down to five. Unfortunately, that’s still too many.
To put this into perspective, the most players ever selected to start an all-star game from one team in the history of the Midsummer Classic is six. That was in 1939, when the Yankees sent six ball players for the first time ever, and it only happened because those players were putting a cap on four consecutive championships from 1936-39.
The Royals are coming off of losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in their first appearance in the fall classic since 1985. Heck, last year was only their first appearance in the playoffs since 1985.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time there has been All-Star Game voting shenanigans. In 1957, seven Cincinnati Reds were elected to start the Midsummer Classic in St. Louis, but that was back when ballots had to be submitted on paper. So, what the Reds fans did back then was a bit commendable, but still despicable.
Fortunately, then commissioner Ford Frick had enough sense to intervene and inserted hall-of-famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron into the starting lineup of the National League. Regrettably, Frick freaked out a little too much and went on to completely take the vote away from the fans and it remained that way for the rest of his tenure.
MLB erased 60-65 million votes a few weeks ago already due to fraudulent activity (duh), but don’t expect any more meddling from the higher-ups this year. In an age where social media gives the multitude of fans a voice, current commissioner Rob Manfred will have to answer to the backlash of making an iron-fisted decision like the one Frick made in 1957.
Thankfully, the Hank Aaron and Willie Mays of our generation, Miguel Cabrera and 2014 All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout, have taken a substantial lead in the votes in their respective positions and are likely to start.
The A.L. team will suffer on offense because of the Kansas City Royals and the only ones who can save them are the Kansas City Royals.
You read that right. For all the offensive deficiencies the Royals have, they do possess the best defense in the game and one of the best pitching staffs in the entire league.
If Ned Yost, manager of this year’s A.L. team and, you guessed it, the Kansas City Royals, decides to continue this trend of Royals starters, then Edinson Volquez will get the start for the A.L.
Yost already said Oakland’s Sonny Gray, Houston’s Dallas Kuechel and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer are some of his favorites to start on the mound, but Yost could always homer it up and slide Volquez in there. It’s a good thing then that Volquez can hold his own, and that pitchers typically take the mound for one to two innings anyway.
The real strength in Kansas City’s pitching is its bullpen, and Yost knows this better than anyone else. Relievers Wade Davis, Ryan Madson, Brandon Finnegan, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland actually could form an all-star team of their own. If any of them make the roster, then the seventh, eighth and ninth innings are in good hands.
But, it could be too late by the time they step on the rubber in Cincinnati. The National League’s Max Scherzer, Zach Greinke, Madison Bumgarner and Michael Wacha are anxiously waiting for the call to punish any weak hitters come July 14, and it sounds Yost will be bringing a few with him.
This article was written by Josh Barajas and Sports Editor from ULoop/UWire and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.