Final Vote: Darvish, Freese headed to ASG

The votes are finally in and the American and National League All-Star rosters are complete as the Final Vote polls were closed Thursday afternoon to fill in the 34th roster spots of both leagues. Voting was left up to the fans – as it was to compile the starters – and sadly, they did a poor job of finalizing each roster.

Making their first All-Star appearances are the St. Louis Cardinals’ David Freese (2011 World Series MVP) and Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher, Yu Darvish. Darvish received 7.3 million votes to edge out Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavey while Freese earned 8.4 million votes.

Darvish was deserving, don’t get me wrong, but Peavy is having one of the best seasons of his career and his struggles as of late prevented the fans from putting the right guy in. Additionally, Darvish was hyped as the best overseas pitching sensation in the game right now and the fans always want to see the next best thing when it comes to starting pitching.

The White Sox usually have good luck in the Final Vote, but apparently Rangers fans are just a little better and more dedicated – as they are filling seats – to sending their stars to Kansas City, as Texas will now have eight All-Stars represented. Last year the fans voted in Paul Konerko, and A.J. Pierzynski and Scott Podsednik were Final Vote victors in the 2006 and 2005 seasons, respectively.

When the NL Final Vote candidates were released, there was a lot of talk that the Atlanta Braves third baseman, Chipper Jones, should get in as this is his final season. But, due to Matt Kemp’s hamstring injury, the MLB announced that Jones would replace Kemp on the NL roster, resulting in the Final Vote taking place among four candidates rather than the five original.

Freese gets consideration for the Final Vote and comes out victorious only because of his game-winning heroics in Game 6 and 7 of last year’s World Series that single-handedly won the Cardinals the championship. Otherwise, Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper deserved to participate in this year’s ASG because of his celebrity status as the next best offensive player in the game since Alex Rodriguez emerged.

MLB’s Final Vote is one of the main reasons why the other three major sports in America cannot even come close to the ratings their All-Star games receive as compared to the MLB’s.

But, while the MLB’s ASG is the most successful at representing their All-Stars, there is still a flaw in the way they go about the game.

To this day, I still despise making the All-Star Game the deciding factor for which league “earns” home field advantage in the World Series. It is utterly the most unfair and worst aspect of the Summer Classic.

Before this rule, it was a team effort to win as many games as possible to earn home-field. Now, whichever league wins on Tuesday, teams in that league can just cruise on knowing they’ll get home-field no matter what their record is.

Explain to me how it’s fair that a team like the New York Yankees could win 100+ games, yet, not get home-field because the NL won the ASG that year, giving the 88-win team from San Francisco the advantage?

I understand that it probably draws in more TV ratings as fans tune in to watch and hope that the league of their team wins, but wasn’t that the scenario even before that rule was installed? I have always watched and wanted the NL to win not only because I’m a Cubs fan, but also because there is more strategy into being successful in the NL than the AL.

My other problem with the ASG is the MLB trying to get all 30 clubs represented. It’s the All-Star Game, where only the best PROFESSIONAL athletes participate for one night on the same field.

Let’s say that word again…professional.

We are not dealing with an 8-year-old little league ASG where someone’s feelings could get hurt if they are left out. If your team has no one good enough to be voted in by the fans or players and coaches, then your team is left unrepresented. Sorry, but trying to make everyone feel involved is comparable to giving the last place team for that same little league a participant trophy at the end of the season. These are grown men who compete every day with one another and they all know who is deserving of a trip and who should watch the game from home.

The MLB needs to fix both of these rules before it ends up like the Pro-Bowl.

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