The Major League Baseball season is less than a month old but a small sample size won’t keep baseball’s brass from giving fans a chance to vote on the most "deserving" All-Stars.
That’s right, voting for the Mid-Summer Classic is officially open on MLB.com.
The Phillies, per normal, are well represented on the ballot but there is a surprise or two on who was included – and who wasn’t.
In: Mr. Bum Knee Chase Utley
Out: Mr. “I’m Actually Playing at Second Base” Wilson Valdez
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
This move actually makes sense considering the injured Utley has been voted to start the All-Star Game for five-straight seasons. But isn’t this supposed to representative of what’s happening now, not then? Valdez -- even if he is struggling -- was the Phillies Opening Day starting second baseman and therefore should have been on the ballot over Utley.
And unless Dan Uggla, Ricky Weeks or Brandon Phillips get some dap, fans around the country might vote in Utley on name recognition alone -- not stats, obviously.
If Utley makes the All-Star team then it's official -- he is the Cal Ripken (minus the playing everyday thing) of this generation.
Besides that the only other inclusion of note is that Ben Francisco was given an outfield ballot spot. Since he’s been the starting right fielder this makes sense but considering what MLB did with Utley, it wouldn’t have surprised me if the man who was dubbed to start in right Domonic Brown, had appeared on the ballot instead.
In any case Phillies fans can start voting now for Ryan Howard (1B), Utley (2B), Jimmy Rollins (SS), Placido Polanco (3B), Raul Ibanez (OF), Francisco (OF), Shane Victorino (OF) and Carlos Ruiz (C).
Too bad we can’t vote for pitchers because then we might actually find a Phillie -- besides Polanco -- deserving of ASG recognition.
And just in case voting for the “best” players this season really gets you going you can vote early and vote often -- up to 25 times a day.
Just for laughs here is my NL ballot at this point in the season.
1B – Joey Votto
2B – Ricky Weeks
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
3B – Polanco
OF – Ryan Braun
OF – Andre Either
OF – Lance Berkman
C – Brian McCann
Who gets your vote?