Major League Baseball changed their All Star Game voting format this year and it was desperately needed. Now, instead of the player with the most votes at each position getting a starting nod in the All Star Game, there is a secondary voting window to decide the starters. In this secondary voting window, you can only choose between the top 3 at each position and top 9 outfielders. To many, this was a great solution and it’s solved many of the problems but I think there needs to be a few more changes. Allow me to point out a flaw or two here and push the candidacy of Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, two Mets who are absolutely deserving of an all star nod.
One issue I see is that a player’s position is based on where they play the most games, which makes sense. But then there are those cases such as McNeil’s. He played the majority of his games with the Mets last year, on the infield dirt, he started this season as the opening day third baseman, throughout his minor league career he was an infielder. Yet when you go to vote for Jeff McNeil, you can find his headshot in a VERY crowded NL outfield ballot, thus hurting his chances at a much deserved all star appearance. With Bellinger and Yelich having the seasons they are having, along with names such as Harper, Blackmon, Acuna Jr., Schwarber, and more, that leaves very little room for the man Mets fans call “Squirrel” to climb the ballot. As of the last ballot update, McNeil ranks 20th in the NL outfield voting with 205,542 votes, well behind the Rockies Charlie Blackmon in 9th place with 530,342. To put the lack of support in perspective, he also sits behind the Phillies’ Andrew McCutchen, who is out for the season after a knee injury. It’s a steep hill to climb for fans to get McNeil into the second wave of voting but it isn’t impossible.
The lack of support for Mets on the ballot is not just limited to McNeil. Believe it or not, rookie stud Pete Alonso is struggling to get into the second round of voting as well. Here’s my thing with the NL voting at first base. Josh Bell has been absolutely dominating the NL Central and obliterating baseballs since May 1, and rightfully so he is the top vote receiver at that position. But after that comes Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy, all before you see Polar Pete’s name! Don’t get me wrong, those are two VERY good first basemen and one Max Muncy (where the hell did he come from the past few years?!?) but with what Alonso has been doing all season long, not just with the bat but with the glove too, there should without a doubt be more votes than just the 319,256 he has received. To me, when a fellow rookie and their family (Chris Paddack and co.) can’t keep your name out of their mouths, you deserve an all star nod.
A lot of the All Star Game voting is a popularity contest and we all know it. It’s like voting for a high school superlative. But the fact that Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil aren’t getting the respect they deserve is kind of frustrating. I’m sure when the manager of the NL squad, Dave Roberts, sits down to pick out his reserves, the Squirrel and the Polar Bear will be among the many in consideration, but why should it rest in the hands of Dave Roberts?
Mets fans, I urge you to make sure you vote for your Mets, and make sure the Flushing Zoo gets some respect! Don’t know how to vote? This is directly from MLB.com: “Fans may vote in “The Primary” at MLB.com and all 30 club sites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark apps up to five times in any 24-hour period. Fans in the US and Canada can also vote on Google Search for every position, or up to 17 unique players per day, by searching “MLB Vote” or the names of their favorite players. Primary voting ends at 4 p.m. ET on Friday.” Go vote for Squirrel McNeil and Polar Pete!! LGM!