This appeared in a Yahoo sports story today. And it’s awesome.
In every corner of the Kansas City Royals' clubhouse, they revel in the chaos, each player's face contorted into something that resembles a Guy Fawkes mask. Somehow, the American League All-Star team's lineup as of today consists of eight Royals and the best player in the world, and this, to them, is the most glorious kind of anarchy, one everybody involved wants to believe is built on the back of pure passion.I don’t for a second believe any of the talk that the disproportionate voting for Royals players is the work of some hack job or cheating by Royals fans. As Ned Yost and many other Royals players have pointed out multiple times, every other fan of every other team in the country has the same opportunities to vote for their players. If you don’t like the way the roster is shaping up and want to see your hometown players in the staring slots, then vote. It’s as simple as that.
It may well be that the 25th-sized market of Major League Baseball's 26 mobilized, rocked the vote and did so without the help of a sneaky Python script or an undetectable Perl script or any of the ways around the system that for the first time has gone online only and seen itself turned completely on its head. Because right now, the single worst offensive player in baseball is the AL starter at second base and the single best offensive player in the AL is not starting and the entire thing is like a coastal fever dream in which the Midwest rises up and fights back for all those years of flyover jokes.
Heck, the Royals sent me an email inviting me to vote, so I did. With online voting now, it’s easier than ever to vote for the All-Star team, and my participation in the process this year is unprecedented. Before this year, I can’t recall the last time I submitted even one ballot – I think it’s been at least since my youth. This year being the first that paper ballots are no longer distributed at ballparks, I usually collected the paper ballots for posterity, not voting.
In a matter of minutes I had burned my maximum 35 votes, and I was finished. I made my selections. No more voting for me. … And frankly, I didn’t go into it thinking, I’m going to vote for all of the Royals players I can. As I do every year, I scanned the selections, and I checked off the players who I enjoy watching most. This year, that just happened to include more Royals than players from other teams.
Forget about all of the conspiracy theories. MLB says the Royals' votes are legit.
But let’s not forget in all of this that the Royals – though most of America seems to have forgotten – are the defending American League Champions, who pushed the World Series to seven games last fall and came within 90 agonizing feet of tying that last game in the bottom of the ninth inning. So this shouldn’t be that surprising, and for that reason I believe every player in the Royals starting lineup – with the exception of Alex Rios, who wasn’t a member of the Royals last season and has been injured for most of this season – is deserving of being at or near the top spot at every position.
In the wake of the All-Star voting, the prudent thing for Dayton Moore to do now is to trade Alex Rios for Mike Trout straight up.— Pete Grathoff (@pgrathoff) June 15, 2015
And I wouldn’t mind if the San Francisco Giants, as the defending National League Champions were doing the same in their league – but they’re not.
Absurd or not, there is nothing wrong with the Royals’ potential seven All-Star starters.
There are a lot of different ways to look at this, of course, from seeing it as a ballot-box-stuffing embarrassment that has to be stopped (along the lines of what happened in 1957) to … it’s sure been a long time coming for the Royals and their fans so, what the heck?For the record, I selected Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales for my American League picks, along with Dustin Pedroia at second base and Mike Trout as the third outfielder. Trout, as one of the best players in the game, is a no-brainer, and I only slightly regret selecting Hosmer over Miguel Cabrera. But that’s another vote for the American League Champion Royals for which Hosmer plays and Cabrera does not.
And, really, it actually would be fun and cool to see it play out this way.
For the National League, I selected my favorites, not necessarily because of the seasons they’re having. Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Kolton Wong, Brandon Crawford, Kris Bryant, Brian Harper, Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton.
This is the first time in decades the Royals are a legitimate contender, capable of placing multiple players in the starting lineup, and if this year's Royals were playing anything like they played during the previous two decades, I don’t think we’d be having this debate.
Meanwhile, across the state, the so-called model baseball franchise in St. Louis is being investigated for hacking into the Houston Astros’ computer system. Now that’s a story.
(Update 06.25.15) I caught this podcast today, which features Joe Posnanski discussing the All-Star voting and attributing the high number of Royals players getting votes to "an extraordinary display of enthusiasm." Makes sense to me. Start listening around the 27-minute mark.