All-Star Games in the Professional Sports world, usually split fans into two separate groups. You have one group where fans find it annoying, or unnecessary, or just a popularity contest. Then you have the opposite side of the spectrum, where fans find it entertaining, and a fun way to have a break/end the season.
Where do I fall you might ask? I would say I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t have as much of an opinion on the game(s) as a whole, as I do the voting for the players that become a part of those such games. There is too big of a discrepancy of who’s votes count for how much. Between the players, the media and the fans.
It needs to change. In 3 Major North American Pro Sports Leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB), the fan’s All-Star votes count for the same or more than both the media and the players. Before I get into the nitty gritty, let’s look at the specifics.
So as I mentioned before, in the NFL/NBA/MLB, for their All-Star Games, fan voting counts for the same or more of the final decision than player and media voting does. That in itself is outrageous to me. Then when you look at the actual percentages that each type of vote accounts for, it becomes even more outrageous.
In the NBA, All-Star fan votes account for 50% of the votes, while player and media votes account for 25% each.
In the MLB, All-Star starters are chosen FULLY by fan voting. Only the pitching rotations/bullpens and position player reserves are chose by a mix of player(s) and the commissioner’s office votes.
In the NFL, Pro Bowl votes for fans, players, and media all account for a third of the votes each. It’s surprising to me that out of these 3 leagues, the NFL is the one that keeps their votes the most equal. But that’s for another article altogether.
All-Star/Pro Bowl voting should do just about a 360 flip. How is it that the guys who put their blood sweat and tears into these games, don’t get the majority of the vote. While instead, it goes to guys like Jim Bob who could have “gone pro” if it weren’t for that nagging knee injury. Jim Bob, who sits on his couch every Sunday, yelling at the TV and chomping down on nachos.
I’m not saying that fans don’t know what they are talking about. There are plenty of people I know, that know wholeheartedly what they are talking about when it comes to sports. Along with the All-Star voting process.
What i’m saying is the players are in the trenches with these All-Stars/Pro Bowlers. Those guys are in the locker room, they see the effort their teammates put into the sport they love. They are a part of the brotherhood. They know better than anyone else what it takes to play at the level these All-Star/Pro Bowl caliber players are playing.
As for the media, yes it is their literal job to critique and analyze everything these athletes do, day in and day out. The majority of them, have never gone pro, or didn’t play high level college sports. So, like the fans, they know what they are talking about, probably better than the fans do. But they also aren’t always behind closed doors, or in the batting cages, or the practice field. But you know who is…..the players.
We are in the days of Social Media, “Keyboard Warriors”, and Fantasy Sports. Social Media, can be good and bad for the Pro Sports World. Good for the outreach/support for important things that go beyond sports. Like the Damar Hamlin situation going on right now. At the same time, it can also be bad, which is where “keyboard warriors” come in.
Those are people that will say mean/nasty things to whomever they want (mainly athletes/celebrities). Knowing they will most likely never meet that such person face to face and never face any consequences. The worst that happens can be a banned account, but that’s what burner accounts are for. They will set up account after account, and not give a care in the world.
Fantasy Sports have seemingly made fans (not all but some) care more about if they win their fantasy league than about the REAL humans they pick for their online FANTASY teams. You see time and time again, someone tweet out hate at a certain player. Usually after they get hurt or have even a slightly sub-par game. All because they paid oodles of money just to play in those leagues. Fake leagues that don’t really mean too much, unless you get to the final game for the jackpot.
Sometimes I get lost in seeing the hate get spewed at players, and some fans not seeming to care that those players are humans with emotions just like them. But going back to the Damar Hamlin situation I mentioned. Something like that goes to show that the majority of fans actually care for the well-being of the humans that play this game for the love of it and for our entertainment.
While these so-called “Exhibition” games are “for the fans”. It’s the players that deserve the majority of the vote, so at least the name of the games (All-Star), can be true to the game being played.