A Modest Proposal
April 20, 2010
This is the one I have been waiting to write.
The top headline on MLB.com this morning was, to my delight, “Big inning gives Mets big win over Cubs.” The second-most important headline was, to my dismay, “All-Star balloting 2010 begins today.” Mark Newman, the man in charge of all things unnecessary plugs and silly ads-turned-articles at MLB.com, opens up his article claiming that there are three steps to the start of the baseball season: Spring Training, Opening Day, and the launching of the All-Star balloting. Jeezy Creezy.
Quoting Jonathan Swift, “As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation.” So, ladies and gentlemen, with all due respect, gratitude and apologies to Mr. Swift, I give you:
A Modest Proposal
For Preventing the Election of Undeserving Fast Starters
and Fan Favorites From Taking All-Star Votes Away From
Those Who Truly are Great
By Jonas Altman-Kurosaki (that’s enough of the poetic verse…)
It is a melancholy object to those true baseball fans who walk through this great town or travel in the country, to see plastered on websites and television screens, “THIS TIME IT COUNTS,” and know that though we are but sixteen days into baseball season, and many lucky ones still have batting averages close to .500, it is time to start punching their ballots twenty-five times per email address to get deserving players to the All-Star Game. Bandwagon fans and their hubbies nationwide, undoubtedly in new record hundred-millions, will vote for their hometown players, regardless of skill, stats or other relevant attributes – Jason Bay, you’re batting .245 with three RBI and no home runs; welcome to left field in Anaheim! Other slightly more involved bandwagoners will vote for whoever is at the top of the leaderboards as of right now – you’re welcome, Scott Podsednik.
“This time it counts.” Counts, indeed. Right now, Bud Selig’s idea of the All-Star Game counting is that the winning league’s representative in the World Series will have home-field advantage. Balderdash! That counts not for those other twenty-eight teams not participating in the Fall Classic.
The All-Star Game will once again be ridiculed into a popularity contest unless true action is taken. I propose that the stakes be upped. Let lives depend on the outcome of this year’s All-Star Game. Let the vitality of articipating ballplayers’ families – wives, children, parents, cousins, in-laws – hang in the balance. This time, it will count.
Each ballplayer must volunteer a member of his family to have his or her fate decided by the game. Most ballplayers’ families provide distractions from the game anyway, causing players to leave for their child to be born or to take care of a sick parent. Nay more will that be a problem either. This time, it will count.
After the family member has been nominated, they will be allowed to sit in the stands with their friends and kin for what could be the final time. Each inning will feel like nine; each pitch will feel like a hundred. The seventh-inning stretch will be the first bell tolling. Perhaps there will be extra innings, causing the agony to go on with the game tied and families from both leagues uneasy and unsure. Sacrifices will take on a whole new meaning. A pitcher’s dead arm may bring even more death. Performance will be the most important thing on a voter’s mind, for the sake of humanity.
Perhaps then, fans will wait a little longer to see who is truly deserving of taking the field in mid-July when others don’t. Hometown favorites will take a backseat to true diamond heroes. Perhaps the down-in-2009 Josh Hamilton wouldn’t have been there to make a run-scoring throwing error. Not that it mattered.
Players would care more, too. Imagine if Aaron Rowand, when he flew out to end the National League’s rally in San Francisco in 2007, had seen the last of his beloved wife Marianne, and Albert Pujols, nowhere to be found when he could have pinch-hit, had lost his dear Albert, Jr. And yet, there would not have been sorrow all over, as American League families all over the ballpark would have let out bittersweet sighs of relief.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my sport. I have no player in mind that I propose to be voted in yet; the game is in July, and it is only mid-April.
Hope you enjoyed. Now quickly for some other baseball happenings!
Short hops: The Mets’ Ike Davis got his first big league hits and RBI yesterday in the Mets’ win over the Cubs. … The Blue Jays put off fourth place another day by pounding the Royals while the Rays spanked the Red Sox for a four-game sweep at Fenway. … The Orioles’ Ty Wigginton, filling in at second and third for Baltimore, got his fifth home run and eleventh RBI of the season in only his 34th at-bat. … The 2009 Champion Yankees will head to the White House to meet with Chicago native Barack Obama to celebrate their World Championship. … Voting for the All-Star Game begins today. Please, for the sake of great baseball, don’t vote yet.
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