Even though Manny Ramirez has been dropping in the vote totals for July's All-Star Game, William Rhoden of the New York Times has a problem with fans voting for him. He'd like players who are suspended for violating the league's drug rules banned from playing in the midsummer classic. That's a fine rule, and it makes all the sense in the world. It doesn't exist right now, though, which means Manny is eligible.
So people are voting for him, and Rhoden thinks that it should be the final straw for having fans vote for All-Star Games at all.
The fact that Ramirez has received so many votes suggests that the time has come to take All-Star Game voting privileges away, especially now that home-field advantage in the World Series is tied to the game. Fans are not in the business of sending moral messages.
No, they aren't in the business of sending moral messages, they are in the business of watching baseball games. And, in this specific instance, they're in the business of choosing who they might want to see play in an exhibition game that, no matter what Bud Selig and Rhoden would have you believe, doesn't actually matter all that much. Home-field advantage is swell, just don't pay attention to two of the last three World Series outcomes.
Why should fans have their right to vote taken away because of Ramirez and not, say, because Jimmy Rollins is currently leading Hanley Ramirez at shortstop in the National League. Is it not moral to believe in a world where the best are rewarded?
Manny doesn't "deserve" to start in the All-Star Game, but neither have many, many others through the years. The league even codifies that undeserving players must be invited by virtue of their one representative from every team rule. And that's just fine, because it doesn't matter. It's an exhibition baseball game not a Presidential election, which means morality should play the same role as it does in the voting for "American Idol."
Most baseball fans watch the sport because they enjoy the sport, not so they can sit in moral judgment of the players. For them to be told that they are idiots for doing so is insulting.