Voting for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote has ended, and it appears Texas Rangers shortstop Andrus came up short. But it’s really not his fault.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus marks the fifth Texas Rangers player to make the ballot for the MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. The contest started back in 2002 and Yu Darvish is the only Texas player to win the vote. But in what amounts to a mere popularity contest, it appears Andrus never really had a legitimate shot thanks to several major hurdles.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in Elvis’s way comes down to sheer numbers. This year, he had to compete with guys from the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. As of Thursday morning, the Rangers have 2,387,789 “likes” on Facebook. Compare that to the Yankees and their 8,561,868 and the 5,296,431 the Red Sox have and it’s not even close.
Sure, Texas PA man Chuck Morgan and his friends can encourage fans to click-click-click their computers into a frenzy to blast votes in for Andrus. However, there are twice as many Boston fans and nearly four times as many New York fans out there doing the same thing. That makes for some very tough sledding for Elvis right from the get-go.
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While many fans do look at things like statistics and performance, I’d venture to say a majority just look simply at laundry. Most die-hard Yankees fans will simply look at any ballot and vote for the guy with “NYY” by his name. That’s not a slam on Yankees fans, by the way. Red Sox fans will look for “BOS”, just as Rangers fans will look for “TEX.” It happens all across the country.
Not to mention, there are likely more voters out there that don’t study baseball than there are voters that do. Some of them probably couldn’t pick Didi Gregorius or Xander Bogaerts out of a lineup (pun intended).
But they’ll click the bubble by their names simply based on the hat logo in their picture. However, fanbases don’t make up all the numbers involved here. There’s more to this story.
But it’s not just the ladies. Everyone loves home runs. They’re what put the butts in the seats and then make the butts come off the seats in delight. Nothing garners more ballpark high fives than a well-timed homer for the home team. I mean, it even has “home” in the name!
While Elvis is having the most prolific home run season of his career, his numbers are still more than doubled by Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. As of Wednesday night, “Moose” has 25 home runs. Many fans will look at that and nothing else.
They’ll ignore that he only has a .275 batting average. They won’t even care that he only has four more runs batted in than the much less powerful Andrus. Average fans don’t care that Elvis has put together a much more well-rounded season than Moustakas with 20 stolen bases and 100 hits. Those numbers beat Moustakas by 20 and 17, respectively.
Typical fans won’t see that Elvis has an OBP that’s 38 points higher. All many of them will look at is the simple 25-11. Those represent the home runs totals for Moustakas and Andrus, in that order. It’s a shame it has to be that way. But again, home runs are sexy. And based on history, middle infielders are not, apparently.
Did you know that the Final Vote has never gone to a middle infielder? Of the 15 previous votes, second basemen and shortstops have never won the final tally. Not even Derek Jeter, himself could win the vote back in 2005. Left fielder Scott Podsednik took him out. Granted, Jeter had the odds stacked against him as well since he had four outfielders taking him on. But still, the dude is headed to the Hall of Fame and Podsednik hasn’t seen an MLB field since 2012.
But regardless of the reasoning for the bias, think about the differences in player builds. Your prototypical middle infielder, until Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra came along, were generally the smaller guys. They usually had better gloves with some speed and got on base a lot. But they weren’t usually paid for hitting the long ball or driving in runs. They earned their keep by turning double plays and getting on base. Those stats just usually don’t show up so much on stat sheets.
Meanwhile, corner outfielders and corner infielders usually swing bigger bats. They don’t need quite the defensive range that the guys up the middle do. In all honesty, this really just circles back to the power argument.
Even Jeter wasn’t really a power guy during his career. He made his living by making big plays on both sides of the mound. Some fans just don’t find that as exciting as a guy that smashes the ball into the upper deck.
Early Thursday morning, his wife Cori gave birth to their first child, Elvis Emilio. While nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody should fault Elvis for taking leave right now, the timing does hurt his chances. But as a father myself, I can guarantee you he doesn’t care. He shouldn’t either.
Fans haven’t gotten to watch Andrus take another swing or two and strengthen his case in the final hours of the vote. But frankly, that’s not as important as a new father getting to stay by his wife’s side and welcome their son to this world.
That’s something no-one can ever take away from the three of them and is worth more than anything he would do on the field Tuesday night in Miami. In fact, I’ll just say it: Congratulations, Elvis and Cori. Welcome to parenthood. It’s absolutely amazing.
Look, I’m not saying Elvis didn’t deserve it. On the contrary, he’s putting together a season that dwarfs what he did in 2010 and 2012, when he actually made the AL all-star squad without the final vote. In half a season, he already has a career high in home runs and he’s on pace to set career marks in RBIs, hits, doubles and slugging percentage. He’s a phenomenal all-around player this year and teammate. In the end though, he just had way too high of an uphill battle. But don’t hate the player. Hate the game.