A View from the Seats

Fans Can Help Win a World Series… and Don’t Realize it!

On Thursday night, MLB fans were able to make their final All-Star picks before balloting closed. The final lineups will be announced at 7 p.m Tuesday on ESPN.

As of Monday, when the latest tallies were revealed, it was clear the ballot stuffers were out in full force. On the American League side, the Royals had seven players in the Top 5 at their respective positions. This includes Omar Infante, who was released on June 15 and has since signed with Atlanta!

If the playoffs were to start today, the Royals would be a wild-card team. Meanwhile, the Central Division leading Cleveland Indians do not have a single player among the Top 5 at any position.

In the National League, the Chicago Cubs have been tops on the field, and their fans have been the best off the field. Through Monday’s results, the Cubs are in line for five All-Star starters. They also have seven position players in the Top 5.

This is no big deal, right? The Cubs are good.

They are good, but not that good. For example, Addison Russell leads all shortstops by over 300,000 votes and could be slated to start in San Diego. Russell is hitting .235 with 8 HR and 41 RBI this season. There are 11 shortstops in the NL with a better batting average, five with more home runs and seven with a better OPS.

At second base, Ben Zobrist has a big lead over Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. Zobrist is having a good season, hitting .301 with 10 HR and 41 RBI. Murphy, however, is having an MVP-type season, batting .351 with 14 HR and 53 RBI. He leads the NL in hits and has struck out only 33 times.

How does this happen?

It’s easier than ever to “stuff the ballots.” It used to be a tedious process of going to games and punching holes into a ballot – old school. Now, voting is done online and any fan can vote up to 35 times! That means, if you want to make a concerted effort to get your local favorites in, you can do it!

Why does this matter?

This is a big deal for the teams moving on to the playoffs. Major League Baseball instituted the rule a few years back that the All-Star Game winner determines home-field advantage for the World Series. Meanwhile, fans are deciding who starts the All-Star Game. It could give one team a decided advantage. The Cubs fans may want to see Addison Russell playing in October, but is it to their advantage to having him start on July 12? We may just find out.

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