I've never been that big a fan of the All-Star Game but I'm coming around quickly. My favorite part of the All-Star experience has always been the voting. In the past it was fun to poke out the chads from your ballot and see how many ballots you can punch in the span of a ballgame. I've always compared it to knitting in that it keeps your hands busy while you're talking to your friends and watching the game.
Now that All-Star voting is settled into the electronic age I've found a new reason to enjoy it. It's now the last place in baseball that you're still allowed to have an opinion based solely on your fandom. I can vote for all Padres players on my All-Star ballot and I'm not going to be barked at by a bunch of stat hounds. We're voting purely on popularity and that's it. It's glorious. We don't need statistics to supplement our argument, better yet we don't even need to argue. "I'm a fan of the Padres, so I'm going to vote for the Padres." That's all you need to say. It reminds me of simpler times.
I also like that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense but also makes perfect sense. We're not trying to vote for the best players unless the best player has entertained us enough to become popular. How great is that?
The Padres have three players that have risen to the top in terms of popularity. They appeared a couple weeks ago on the first NL ballot update. You've got two outfielders in Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. Upton has played as well as anyone on the Padres team, Kemp has been slumping hard but still popular. Derek Norris was also on the list.
In the second update Norris was replaced in the top 5 by Yasmani Grandal. Ugh!
While all three have practically zero chance of being voted onto the team, Upton with his outstanding May and Norris leading the league in a lot of classic stats seem like they'd be good representatives. More importantly they're exciting to watch and really isn't that what the All-Star Game is all about? Yes, the answer is yes.
So if I'm looking at the Padres team and thinking who'd I'd like to represent our city in the mid-Summer's classic I'd want Upton and Norris. These guys can play and they're popular.
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