All Star Game
As a fanbase, you really have to wonder what is going on with New York Mets fans. They are showing up for many of their players, and the vote totals are reflecting that, but they are not showing up for all of them. On that point, here is how the Mets players are faring in the All-Star voting with their National League rank in WAR:
- Pete Alonso: 2/3
- Jeff McNeil 3/3
- Eduardo Escobar 5/10
- Francisco Lindor 3/4
- Starling Marte 4/16
- Mark Canha 7/14
- Brandon Nimmo 10/2
- J.D. Davis 5/21
By WAR, Nimmo has been the Mets best player this season. By WAR, he trails only Mookie Betts among all of National League outfielders. However, despite that, he’s not only the lowest ranked of all the Mets outfielders on the All-Star ballot.
Yes, other fanbases vote and look to make their voices heard. That is to be expected. Certainly, there is a measure of popularity in the voting. That is exactly why the voting for Nimmo is so problematic.
Look at the Mets players again. With the exception of McNeil and Nimmo, each one of the Mets players vote ranking outpaces where they are in WAR. For McNeil, it actually matches where he ranks. However, for Nimmo, he is lagging, and he’s unjustifiably far off from where he ranks among National League outfielders.
It’s hard to see this as anything other than a popularity contest. After all, Davis is in the top five in DH voting. This is a player who ranks 21st in WAR among designated hitters. It is worse when you consider he trails Dominic Smith in WAR, and Smith was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse for a stretch. Realistically speaking, it’s hard to fathom how Davis is getting any votes.
For that matter, Escobar ranks fifth, and he has not been good since April. More to the point, you get the sense Mets fans are unfortunately starting to turn on him.
It’s more difficult to fathom why Nimmo isn’t getting any votes. He’s the best player on the team this season. He’s been great atop the lineup and in center field this season. He’s been better than any other position player on this team, and that includes Alonso, who is the player getting MVP talk from the fans.
Overall, Nimmo should not only be an All-Star, he should be a starter. He is the Mets best player, and he has undoubtedly been one of the best outfielders in the National League this season. There may not be enough time left, but Mets fans have to be better than this and step up for him.
It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.
And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.
The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.
There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.
Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.
In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.
There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.
Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.
Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.
However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.
That should translate to All-Star voting.
Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.
Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.
Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.
It seems every year there is a debate over whether every team should really be represented in the All-Star Game. Last night was another example of why it matters. It was great seeing the newest New York Met take the mound in the sixth inning.
That’s not to say Taijuan Walker was an All-Star only because of that rule. That clearly wasn’t the case with his great first half. Rather, there’s just something extra special about that game when you see players from your favorite team out there among on the best in the game. Certainly, Walker has shown himself to be that.
Walker showed the type of stuff which led to him being an All-Star when he struck out Whit Merrifield. His outing was marred a bit by Mike Zunino hitting a homer. That said, he pitched great, and he definitely showed he deserved to be there, and more importantly, he showed that this may not be his last appearance.
That is certainly special given Walker’s story. This is a pitcher who only received an offer from the Mets in free agency despite having a strong 2020 season. Previous to his joining the Mets, Walker had been traded twice, non-tendered, and dealt with various injuries including his needing Tommy John surgery. More than anything, Walker appearing in that All-Star Game was a story in perseverance.
Regardless of the outcome, Walker being an All-Star was a truly special moment. It is what we all love about sports. Walker had a great first half and a special moment. None of it is going to compare to what he will have in store in the second half and his raising that World Series trophy come October.
If you see the reaction, almost no one likes the All-Star Game jerseys. Most of compared them to soccer jerseys, but the main gist is they’re just awful.
The Mets' All-Star Game jerseys and hats have been released. pic.twitter.com/5tvGjZrx0o
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 24, 2021
Generally speaking, who cares? After all, it’s just a workout jersey. It’s just something players wear during workouts, prospects wear during the Future’s Game, and the celebrities and legends wear during the softball game. Beyond that, it’s just another jersey purchased by a limited portion of fans.
Except, it’s not that this year. No, this year, the players are going to wear these jerseys in the field breaking an 86 year tradition of players wearing their team jerseys. Much like the swoosh on the jerseys, it’s another instance of MLB eliminating sacred tradition for a little extra money from Nike.
We could walk through the arguments how it makes players less recognizable on the field thereby making it more difficult to market the game. There are other arguments related to the impact it must have on first time players who don’t get to fulfill a lifelong dream of wearing their team’s jersey in an All-Star Game.
In the end, none of it really matters. The game will be played, and the fans will watch. That said, it’s going to come at a cost.
It may not be significant enough at first to matter, but some fans will be turned off by this. They’re not going to like it, and their interest in the game is just that much less.
It’s just like the universal DH. In the end, it accomplishes nothing. It doesn’t increase runs per game, it reduces strategy, and in the end, despite all the narratives, there’s actually less interest in the DH style of baseball.
More than that, the universal DH only serves to strike a blow at the interest and love of the game of the hardcore fans. These are the fans who the sport relies upon not only to watch everyday and buy merchandise, but they also need them to pass the game down to their children and grandchildren. Baseball seemingly needs this more than any other sport.
It’s the same with the All-Star Game jerseys. You can add three pitcher minimums, no intentional walks, seven inning doubleheaders, runners on second, and whatever cockamamie rule they come up with next.
If MLB keeps pushing the envelope, the hardcore fans aren’t going to care nearly as much. They’re going to watch and follow but not with the same intensity. They’re also not going to be as interested in passing the game onto the next generation.
In the end, Rob Manfred will get the complete opposite of what he wanted. He’ll get less interest in the game. Considering all he’s done, that seems fitting, and those ugly All-Star Game jerseys can be symbol for all he’s done wrong to this game.
According to reports from MLB, while there is hope to resume the baseball season in May and play all 162 games, there are indications the baseball season may not be able to start until July. Overall, the optimistic view is Memorial Day weekend, and the pessimistic view is Fourth of July or All-Star Weekend.
Actually, the pessimistic view is no 2020 season, but we’ll address that at some other time.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume baseball cannot resume during the month of May, and there is going to need to be some form of Spring Training in June before baseball can begin anew. At that time, even the most casual of baseball fans will be baseball starved, and they will want to see any form of baseball as soon as they can.
Now, the later the season goes, the chances of the All Star Game actually being played become increasingly more remote. That’s problematic for the Los Angeles Dodgers who were awarded the game, and they cannot get the game back until 2022.
When you think about it, there is no reason for the Dodgers to lose the All-Star Game. After all, it is just an exhibition designed to give fans baseball at at time players are getting a mid-season break. On a related note, it is an event baseball wishes they could garner more interest leaving them to try different things like “making the game count” or miking up players in the field.
In some ways, COVID19 presents a real opportunity for MLB to get as much possible interest in the All-Star Game. If MLB were to start the 2020 season with the game, instead of using it as the midway point of the season, a baseball craved fanbase and sports starved world will likely tune it to watch at record numbers.
If you think about it for a second, the All Star Game is well suited for Spring Training anyway. Pitchers can only pitch a maximum of two innings. Position players play a couple of innings. There’s light workouts mostly generated in getting fan attention. In essence, the All-Star Game is really just a hyped Spring Training Game.
If it’s really just a Spring Training game with really good players, let’s make it a Spring Training All-Star Game, at least this one year. After all, it is not unprecedented to begin a professional sports season with a marquee event. For example, NASCAR begins their season with the Daytona 500, an event they deem their “Super Bowl.”
Seeing how this is fan driven event with each team getting a representative, allow the fans to pick the representative from their team. It’s a fun way to do it too. We can see Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso squre off. Maybe this could lead to another video of Alonso and Jeff McNeil to make their case as to why it should be Alonso.
Other teams can have similar fun and interesting debates. For Yankee fans, is your guy Aaron Judge or Gleyber Torres, or are you already star struck by Gerrit Cole? Do Dodgers fans love Clayton Kershaw that much, or is Cody Bellinger their guy now? Like Yankees fans, maybe it is the new guy Mookie Betts.
There are fun possibilities, and honestly, it gives baseball fans something to argue and debate leading up to the start of the season. If people are searching for things to talk about now, just wait until there are no sports in March, April, and May. Fighting over who should and should not be an All-Star will be at a fevered pitch, at least that’s the hope.
Once there are 15 players selected by the fans for each squad, the players can fill out the rest of the 34 man roster. After all 34 players are named, the fans can then vote who from the pool of players should be starters in the All-Star Game.
Again, the concept here is to get fans engaged with something to discuss and to give people baseball even when MLB can’t give them baseball. Then, finally, when MLB can give them baseball, they will start the abbreviated season with a must-see event with the best players in the game taking the field.
Overall, it allows us to have the All-Star Game, and it gives us something to look forward to, which at a time like this is something we really need.
For the third time in his career, Jacob deGrom took the mound in an All Star Game. Tonight, he once again proved himself to be an All-Star among All-Stars.
He only needed seven pitches to get through the third inning. He’d strike out George Springer before getting DJ LeMahieu to ground out and Mike Trout to pop out. Getting Trout to pop out was a small measure of revenge with Trout homering off him last year.
So far, deGrom has faced 10 batters in the All Star Game, and he has struck out five of them. That’s right. In a game featuring the best of the best, deGrom still goes out and dominates.
This was just STUPID.
99mph from Jacob deGrom followed by a FILTHY 94mph slider.
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) July 10, 2019
Seeing his All Star Game appearances, the 2015 postseason, and last year, deGrom has established himself as the best of the best. Really, you could make the argument he’s the best out of anyone not named Mike Trout.
He's just a rookie. ? pic.twitter.com/5GpD0klM33
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 10, 2019
By the way, between taking out Carlos Santana in the first round of the Home Run Derby, making the pick robbing Santana of a base hit, and getting the two RBI single off Hand, Alonso may want to stay out of Cleveland for a while.
Perhaps, the best moment of the night was Jeff McNeil entering the game and playing left field a year to the date when Mickey Callaway informed the press McNeil wasn’t getting called up because he was just a second baseman.
Mickey Callaway says no Jeff McNeil because he's strictly a second baseman. #mets
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) July 9, 2018
Overall, the NL lost to the AL 4-3. However, the Mets came out as winners tonight, especially deGrom.
One of several mistakes Bud Selig made as Commissioner was trying to make the All Star Game “count.” This was a complete overreaction to a tie game in the 2002 All-Star Game held in Milwaukee when both teams ran out of pitchers. Instead of just acknowledging this was a one year fluke and maybe make provisions to add pitchers to the roster, Selig did what he did and tried to radically overhaul things. Fortunately, he is gone and so is the All-Star Game counting nonsense.
What remains is a game that is great on its own merits.
When you break it down, the All Star Game has always been about moments which have always arisen because you have the beset players in the game sharing the same field. It is Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a home run. It’s Pedro Martinez electrifying the home crowd striking out five. It’s Alex Rodriguez moving to third base to let Cal Ripken, Jr. playing shortstop in his final All-Star Game. For Mets fans, it’s Jacob deGrom striking out the side on 10 pitches:
In addition to the moments, it’s about seeing the young players on the stage for the first time. The 2015 All Star Game was his first one. In that moment, Mets fans got to see one of their aces measure himself against the best in the game, and he became a sensation. It also became a prelude to what deGrom would do in the NLDS.
This is similar to 2006 when David Wright was an All Star for the first time. He was a surprise second place in the Home Run Derby, and he followed that up with a home run in his first at-bat as an All-Star. As much as anything, the 2006 All Star Game launched Wright from Mets star to superstar.
This is what is in front of Pete Alonso. He beat Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in one of the best Home Run Derbies ever. In that Home Run Derby, Alonso introduced himself to America. This is like Wright in 2006 and deGrom in 2015. He’s a fun personality who hits the ball harder than anyone.
If not him, maybe it is Jeff McNeil. He’s the type of player old school fans and more modern families love alike. You could see him playing all over the field today while slashing hits all over the place. If the National League needs a big hit late in the game, McNeil could be that guy.
That’s what makes the All Star Game great and fun every year. We get to see players like Alonso and McNeil introduce themselves to America. We get to see other fans see what we see everyday and appreciate how others appreciate them. We also have the satisfaction of knowing they are Mets. They can create the great moments we will be talking about for years to come.
In an effort to make the All Star voting more enticing and draw interest to the game, Major League Baseball has changed the voting for this year. Essentially up until June 21, the fans get to vote like they always did. After that, there will be a “Starters Election.” The Staters Election has the fans vote for the starters from the now reduced list over a 28 hour window.
This is a change for its own sake, and it gets it partially right (more on that in a moment). Really, if Major League Baseball wants to get fans interested in the game, let the fans pick their own All Star. In this instance, their own All Star means the player they want to represent their favorite team.
Take the Marlins for example. Are any of their players really All Star worthy? Maybe Brian Anderson who has a 1.8 WAR this season. The problem there is Anderson is 10th among NL third baseman in WAR meaning if he’s selected a worthy player is going to be left off in his stead.
Now, that’s the way it is and will always be so long as every team is represented. If this is going to continue to be a fan spectacle, you do want to see every team represented. After all, even a team like the Marlins, who draw worse than some Triple-A teams, has fans, and you want them to tune in to watch. You want to see Anderson, or whoever their representative is play in the game.
But if you’re going to want to entice the Marlins fans to watch, why not let them pick who they want to watch. For them, it could be Anderson, Miguel Rojas, Caleb Smith, or whomever else it might be. If you boil it down, if you are keeping a representative for every team to keep fans engaged, let them pick their representative.
By doing so, you not only keep them engaged, but you also prevent them from seeing a player they don’t want to see in the game. For example, Mets fans saw Bobby Bonilla as their lone All-Star in 1993 and 1995 despite the fans likely wanting to see players like Dwight Gooden, Rico Brogna, or John Franco in the game. Remember, if you are trying to entice fans, you should entice them with players they want to see play.
That includes being able to vote for pitchers. There are logistical issues with pitchers being available to pitch in the game. However, that should not prevent fans from having their favorite players on the roster even if they cannot participate in the game.
Remember that this would create a pool of just 15 players on a 34 man roster. That’s just seven additional players. Certainly, you could accommodate this by adding six more roster spots if deemed necessary. After all, September rosters are 40. If a manager can handle 40 players in September, there’s no reason he cannot handle that in an exhibition game where managers try go get everyone into the game.
Really, when looking at it that way, there’s no real reason why fans couldn’t or even shouldn’t pick their own team’s representative. Let the Marlins pick their one guy. Mets fans seem to want to push for Pete Alonso. Let them see him in the game. Let Yankees fans send CC Sabathia for one last All Star appearance before his possible Hall of Fame career ends. Again, let fans see who they want to see who they want.
You can do a results show on MLB Network announcing those players. You can then do another show announcing the pool of elected players. Then, you can do the Staters Election Major League Baseball has implemented. Only this time, fans are picking from the actual All-Stars. Then, you can hold the results until the game.
You get fans tuning in a little earlier to find out exactly who the starters are because they won’t know until player introductions. If all done properly, you get more interest because fans are seeing who they actually want to see, and you get more people tuning in earlier in order to see the results. Ultimately, this is the best way to handle every team represented and creating the highest possible level of fan interest in the game.
While Ron Hunt might’ve been the first Mets player to start an All Star Game, he was not the first Mets player to be elected an All Star by the fan vote. That would not happen until 1971, one year after the fan vote was reinstated. In total, the Mets have had 12 players elected as All Star starters with none of them coming since 2013.
Can you name the Mets who have been elected All Star starters? Good luck!
The Mets are really pushing Pete Alonso for the All Star Game. You can understand why. He was a sensation in April, he’s threatening Darryl Strawberry‘s Mets and Mark McGwire‘s MLB record for homers by a rookie. On top of that, he’s a fun player who has quickly become a fan favorite.
The problem with pushing Alonso is he shouldn’t be an All Star first baseman. Trailing Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell in WAR, and he’s tied with Anthony Rizzo. What may come as a shock is Alonso trails all but Muncy in wRC+.
Now, it’s not a travesty if Alonso makes it. In fact, he’s had a good enough season where his being named an All Star is more than merited. It would be good for him and baseball. Then again, there are more deserving candidates.
There are also more deserving Mets. Front and center is Michael Conforto.
Conforto is currently in the top six in WAR among outfielders meaning he should solidly be an All-Star. He’s also sixth in wRC+. Defensively, he’s just 16th in DRS, but that does qualify as fourth best among right fielders.
Overall, Conforto has been terrific this year, and looking at the numbers, he absolutely should be an All-Star. Considering his production and what he’s been for this team, there should be a push among fans and the team to elect him an All Star starter.
All-Star wallpapers for All-Star players. ?
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 13, 2019
It’s not happening. Instead, the team is pushing Alonso and Jeff McNeil. As an aside, McNeil is very deserving as well. That said, neither McNeil nor Conforto are among the top nine. They should be. Perhaps, if the Mets and their fans cared to notice how good they’ve been they would be.