Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yankees All-Star votes drawing ire

The New York Yankees are pissing people off left and right with their success in the early All-Star balloting.

Some Yankees, namely Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin, are truly deserving of their high vote totals. Granderson has been the offensive Most Valuable Player for the Yankees. And Martin has been a godsend for the Yankees, who were looking to replace Jorge Posada’s offense and upgrade the defense behind the plate.

But I can understand why some baseball folks are incredulous about other Yankees leading in the balloting. Derek Jeter’s substantial lead in particular has drawn the ire of many folks, including Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin, who seems really annoyed that his shortstop Erick Aybar is trailing despite having a superior batting average.

But fans want to see stars play in the All-Star game and Derek Jeter is still a star, even if a slightly diminished one. So it’s not surprising to see Jeter lead by a wide margin even in a season where he is struggling to raise his batting average. And we have plenty of anecdotal evidence about Jeter still being beloved by Yankees fans and even some fans of other teams that admire him personally, even if they hate the Yankees.

What is somewhat surprising is that a coach would be so vocal about Jeter being undeserving of an All-Star spot. To be fair, Griffin didn’t call Jeter out by name, but it was clear who he was referring to when he talked about the fans voting for who they want to see instead of who deserves to be in the game.

There’s still plenty of time for changes in the vote totals, but I expect Jeter to make the All-Star team, especially because he will get hit #3,000 just a couple of weeks before the game. That accomplishment will generate a lot of positive publicity and fans will want to reward Jeter for such an impressive career milestone.

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