Urban: Someone will always have All-Star gripes

No matter who’s doing the voting that determines All-Star rosters, someone’s going to get hosed. Probably a lot of people.

Say we let the fans make all the picks. And why not? The game’s essentially a showcase for them, anyway, and All-Star voting represents the only time all year that their voices are truly heard.

Fine. But deserving players will always get hosed because fans will, for the most part, pick their favorite players — even if their favorites are batting .220.

You could give the vote to the players. After all, who knows who belongs better than the players themselves? But trust me, if they were given the honor of picking the teams, deserving players still would get hosed.

Why? Because they’re human. They have prejudices. They have friends. They have enemies. They have agendas. Two years ago, after Alex Rodriguez put up a year for the ages, his name was left off a whole mess of player ballots for the Players’ Choice Player of the Year award. I asked one player why he didn’t vote for A-Rod and his answer provided compelling evidence for NOT giving all the power to the players:

“I can’t stand that guy.”

How about having the managers — all of the managers, not just the All-Star managers — of each league pick the teams? They might be less inclined to leave someone out because they simply don’t like him. Then again, they also might be inclined to take care of their own, so deserving players would get hosed.

Maybe the rosters are too small. Including MLB.com’s final vote winner, each team will have 32 players. That seems like plenty, but we still saw guy such as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, an Alameda native, and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes, who hails from the Peninsula, get hosed. Is 32 enough? What about 35? Maybe 40?

No. Don’t change anything. The way the team was picked this year was as fair as possible.

The fans got to pick the eight non-pitcher starters for each team, and they deserve that right.

The players got to pick most of the reserves, and they did a pretty good job of it.

And while the non-All-Star managers didn’t get the say they deserve, surely they could have made a pitch to American League skipper Jim Leyland and National League skip Tony La Russa, who had the unenviable job of making sure each team in his league was represented by at least one player.

If anything, ditch that all-inclusive rule. Mark Redman didn’t deserve to be an All-Star last year, and Michael Young doesn’t deserve to be one this year.

But all that would do is give you another player or two to add. And guess what? Deserving players — probably a lot of them — still would end up getting hosed.

Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com. He also hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).


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