the latest voting results (6/1) show Manny in 5th place for an outfield spot with 635,530 votes. He trailed Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (908,745), Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez (817,849), the Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano (775,319) and 1st place vote getter Carlos Beltran (741,875). Milwaukee’s Mike Cameron was sixth, about 100,000 back.
Those Philly fans are an ornery bunch just about all the time. Try showing up to an Eagles bar wearing anything other than a green NFL jersey on Sunday and see how you are treated.
These days, however, their ire is directed squarely at one Manny Ramirez. That’s because Manny is still a leading candidate to start in left field for the NL team. That leaves the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez, who is having a stellar season, out in the cold. Ramirez has a comfortable 50,000 vote lead as of Sunday, even though he is currently serving a 50-game suspension courtesy of Major League Baseball.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for Manny Ramirez to get the starting slot ahead of Ibanez. The Phillies’ left-fielder is 36 and playing one of his best seasons ever. Through 49 games, Ibanez is batting .333 with 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, 40 runs, and 4 stolen bases. Ibanez is a serious standout in the NL right now (regardless of position) and should be recognized for his achievements.
However, we get to the crux of the issue that irks Philly fans so much these days – the voting system that powers everything from American Idol to the All-Star Game…the popular vote! Popular voting doesn’t guarantee that “All-Stars” will actually play in the game – it merely ensures that the most popular players for any given position are selected.
Ever since Sanjaya practaically made it to the 4th place spot on American Idol, we’ve learned all to well how the popular vote can be used for evil as well as good. The drama that unfolds is pretty captivating – as Sunday’s Philadelphia Enquirer showed us. Take a look at the first selection from the mailbag addressed to John Gonzales:
How can Manny Ramirez be suspended for 50 games and still be ahead of Raaaaaaaul Ibanez by 50,000 votes in the all-star voting? I know a name carries a player in voting, but this system is really ridiculous. I don’t care if the Phillies make the All-Star Game. I just worry of the integrity of the game itself.
You’re absolutely right. It’s crazy that Manny isn’t even playing and yet he’s way ahead of Ibanez – a guy who’s having arguably the best season of anyone in the National League right now.
I wouldn’t worry about the game, though. Whatever “integrity” MLB had vanished when it shipped a bunch of fools and liars to D.C. to talk about steroids with some other fools and liars.
These days, baseball focuses less on integrity than it does on the ballpark experience. MLB is about summer evenings at the park and Dollar Dog Nights and beach blanket giveaways. Just go with it.
Wait a minute…since when did integrity come in to play here? Has the All-Star Game voting been compromised in some fashion? Did officials from some big accounting firm get it wrong somehow? Has MLB let us down by changing the rules on how the All-Star Game’s players are determined?
The answer to the last three questions above is NO. Fans have decided that the All-Star game should be more about celebrity and popularity then about statistics from the first half of the season. They are voting for the person they want to see (and see perform) during the game – and so far that person is Manny Ramirez, not Raul Ibanez.
You know who isn’t complaining right now (other than Manny Ramirez)? The Fox Broadcasting company, who will surely get better ratings with Manny in the lineup than Raul Ibanez