The Los Angeles Dodgers are, at the time of this writing, one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. They are in first place of the best division in the game. They feature a lineup of some of the sport’s brightest and most exciting young stars. They are hitting home runs at a record setting pace and are doing so in one of MLB’s largest markets. But, dig this, they have NO starters* in this year’s All-Star Game.
The starting lineups are voted on by the fans and, apparently, Dodger fans don’t have the political clout of even small-market, mediocre teams like the Cincinnati Reds. Wassup with that?
Fans in Cincinnati rallyed behind their shortstop, Zack Cozart, and managed to make him the NL starter at the position. OK, Zack is having a fine year, BUT … Dodger fans have the BEST shortstop in the league in Corey Seager. Corey bests Cozart in WAR (3.1 to 2.9), home runs (13 to 9), hits (85 to 73), RBIs (42 to 33), runs (57 to 40) and has played highlight reel defense. Yet, despite playing in front of huge crowds in a huge market, Seager will ride the pine while Zack Cozart takes the field to a national ovation.
Justin Turner has the highest WAR among NL third basemen. He has flirted with hitting .400 all season. He has played stellar defense. He’s been at the core of one of the most productive offenses in baseball. Sure, he missed some time with a bum hammy, but over the last three seasons he’s been among the best Hot Cornermen in the business. All-Star worthy? You bet. But, alas, Turner finished THIRD in the voting and will have to rely on a run-off election to even make the squad.
Dodgers’ All-Star closer, Kenley Jansen, blames US. He blames us Dodger fans for allowing these injustices to occur. Problem is, he’s right.
Why didn’t we vote? Seager should have been a runaway choice and JT should have finished second (at least) in the voting to Arenado. But we couldn’t muster the energy to make a few mouse clicks in order to have our guys represent the franchise we love on the national stage. Why?
Are Dodger fans jaded? One of the most common responses I’ve seen on message boards and on social media is, “Who cares about the All-Star Game? I’m only interested in a World Series title. I’d rather see our players rest than risk injury in a meaningless game.” OK, fair enough, but it DOES mean something to the players. It DOES mean something to those of us who are proud of our guys and want them to garner their share of the national attention they deserve. It’s already tough enough when Dodger players are often taking the field as much of the country is sliding into bed. The All-Star Game is their chance to shine.
Are Dodger fans lazy? Is it just too much hassle to vote? I mean, we’ve got a lot of things to do … you know, lives to live and fun to have … this ain’t Cincinnati, after all, the beach is calling my name! Again, I’m no fan of the artificial celebrity the internet affords us. It’s easy to see that adding to the online cacophony is, well, kind of stupid. I mean, look at Trump’s tweets … who needs this stuff? If I’m honest, I would concede this point. But, it isn’t fair to the players who are trying to build careers and establish legacies. Besides, who wants to be outdone by quaint little burroughs like Cincinnati?
Are Dodger fans just plain mad? It’s been posited that the TV blackout situation is the major reason for the lack of passion from the fanbase. Many fans haven’t really SEEN Corey Seager or Justin Turner play! It’s hard to develop an attachment to the players when you can’t watch them on a regular basis. André Ethier remains among the most popular Dodgers even though he’s basically missed two seasons. To millions of fans, Dré is the last guy they’ve seen play on TV!!! The television situation is just plain sad and is undermining the Dodger brand. You’d think there would be more urgency in rectifying the problem.
So, what does DodgersNation think?
*It’s possible Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw COULD start the ASG, but Washington’s Max Scherzer will likely get the nod.