First and foremost, congratulations to Matt Wieters who at this point is the Orioles' lone all-star representative. Wieters was chosen by AL manager Ron Washington to be on the roster, and he will be the "backup" to starting AL catcher Alex Avila. However the Oriole fans have an opprotunity to allow Adam Jones to join his teammate on the roster by voting him into the game as the last player on the roster. Go to http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2011/fv/ballot.jsp?tcid=hpMW-asgballot-FV-2011 to vote for Adam Jones! Both of these Orioles are deserving of a spot on the team, as potentially was J.J. Hardy...

...and that brings me to my rant about the all-star game voting. As we all know, the fans vote for the all-star starters in baseball. Here's my take on that; under no circumstances should fans be allowed anywhere near a ballot. Having said that, the follow-up rhetorical question would be why not? Isn't the game for the fans and about the fans? Absolutely it is, which is why the fans shouldn't be allowed to vote. Human nature is such that if the fans are allowed to vote, they're mostly going to vote for their favorite players on their favorite teams. Admittedly, I utilized the system and voted my 25 times for Oriole players. However as we all well know, some teams (Yankees & Red Sox just to name two at random of course) have national fan bases. So when you have five NY fans for every two Oriole fans that are voting for their respective players...you get the idea. Again, the all-star game is for the fans just as every game is. The fans constitutes every fan base in the league, not just those of power teams.

When the rosters were announced yesterdaymy boyhood hero, the great Cal Ripken Jr., said on TBS that he himself was the beneficiary of the fans voting a couple of times when he shouldn't have been on the roster. Be that as it may, I still feel that the nine best statistical players at the respective positions should be on the field. (incidentally those nine best players will often be on winning teams.) That means that Derrek Jeter wouldn't be in the lineup next week. ESPN defended the Jeter selection by saying that the fans wanted an icon of the game on the field. I'm the first one to tell you that Jeter's an icon of the game, however is he really the best shortstop in the American League as per the first half of the season? Survey says: not by a long shot. Astrubal Cabrera of the Indians deserved that nod. So by Jeter being on the team Cabrera gets the nod as a reserve, and another deserving player (J.J. Hardy perhaps?) is left out in the cold. The Jeter selection wasn't made by the fans because they wanted an icon of the game, it was made by Yankee fans who wanted their guy on the field. In fairness, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Texeira both have very legitimate gripes about being left off the roster...

...which brings me to the next point of controversy. This time however, I think the league does it right; each team has to be represented. Whereas above I said that the best nine players in the league should be on the roster, I also recognize that if each team has to be represented there might be a deserving player that has to be left off. However again, the game is for the fans. Not just the fans of winning teams, cornerstone franchises, or teams that popular because they have bright colors. I've always believed that every fan has the right to sit down to watch the all-star game and have a member of his or her home team on the roster. MLB and the NFL do it right in that sense, because each team has to have a representative. I suspect that Sabathia and Texeira were probably casualties of that rule. In Sabathia's case. the Royals and the A's each have a pitcher listed as a reserve and it's their only all-star representative, so there's you're answer. Let's face it; if not for that rule Matt Wieters wouldn't be an all-star. Deserving as he might be, the Orioles aren't high-profile enough for him to have made it. (However this year the Oriole representative is truly deserving of being an all-star whereas perhaps in past years there have been times when a nominal Oriole was added just to represnt them.)

So I suppose it's safe to say that the league wants the fans to choose the starting eight field players (the managers still choose the starting pitchers), however once that's done they step in and ensure that each team has a representative. I suppose my issue with the fans voting is that if the Orioles were in first place and the Yankees in last, the same people that identify themselves as Yankee fans would still vote for Yankee players. Am I saying that fans aren't sophisticated enough to vote for the all-stars? Not necessarily, although I did raise an eyebrow at the fact that Joe Mauer was at one point second in the catchers' vote even though he had only played a few games. I suppose that I'd like to see the league itself decide on the rosters based upon who statistically is the best player at that position, and giving due dilligence to the fact that each team must have a player in the game. The game is for the fans...not for select fans.