I was at the local watering hole, celebrating the start of my summer vacation—teaching high school does have its benefits and our schedules are certainly one of them. With a cold draft in front of me, I checked my phone, a tick that’s become compulsive for many of us.

Across the screen, there’s a message from one of the ten thousands apps I’ve absently downloaded: Vote Red Sox Mitch Moreland 1B for the All-Star game. I glanced away then glanced back at the phone as if it had bit me.

Seriously? Mitch Moreland?

Then I looked up his stats, and he’s in the mix. Certainly, Mitch Moreland could see a nod from A.J. Hinch. Moreland has had a decent season, but this is my essential problem with the All-Star game voting: It’s a popularity contest, not a superlative.

I know, as a society, we’ve been moving away from superlatives because everyone is special. When I was in high school in the 90s, the kids who won “best looking” won because—generally speaking— they were better looking than everyone else in their class. Nowadays, everyone is beautiful in their own special, snowflake way.

Using this logic, everyone should share time at first base in the All-Star because each individual snowflake is special and everyone should get a trophy.

(Those may be the two most Republican paragraphs I’ve ever penned.)

I digress. The problem with allowing fans to vote is that it makes a meaningless game even more pointless because the best are often not the ones playing.

Granted, as soon as the MLB discontinued the game determining home field advantage in the World Series—which was a ridiculous idea that made the game semi-interesting—it, again, became pointless to watch. The fans voting only exacerbated the problem.

Believe it or not, there are people out there, likely living in their parents’ basement, with the spare time to vote sixty times. And then the teams with the most fervent fan-bases determine the All-Star starting line-ups.

I don’t want to watch the Red Sox/Yankees play the Cubs/Cardinals. At one time, the best players in the American League played the best players in the National League. Now the game has become the equivalent of counting “likes” on Facebook.

So as far as Mitch Moreland is concerned, vote for him. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be watching. Or checking the score on my phone.

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009), Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing, 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was recently published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media. For more information, please visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.

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