MLB ALL-STAR GAME: VOTES COUNT, DOES CHARACTER?
by Dr. Robert Troutwine June 24, 2015
There’s a phenomenon that has recently developed that will probably come to a head following the 4th of July. In case you haven’t noticed last week’s news, eight out of nine projected starters for the American League team in the upcoming MLB All-Star game are Kansas City Royals. Due to increased fan voting for other players, the number is down to seven out of nine starters will be Kansas City Royals according to the latest vote totals.
This sets a precedent and is practically unparalleled. Also keep in mind that the MLB All Star game has greater importance than in other pro sports because the outcome of the game matters—the league that wins is the home team in the World Series. How did this happen? Will this actually happen? More than one person has said that MLB will not let this happen. If it does happen, some believe ratings for the All-Star game will probably hit an all-time low (of course not for the Kansas City viewing region). This begs the question of whether this is good or bad for baseball.
Are seven or eight Kansas City Royal players really the best at their position in the American League? There is probably no perfect formula for selecting All-Star players and All-Star starters. The way things are currently arranged, fans are allowed to have a say in who goes to the All-Star game and who starts. So yes, fans from any given MLB city can stuff the ballot box. I personally heard one Kansas City fan claim to have voted for Alex Gordon, LF, over 100 times. We are not talking about a couch potato college dropout. This person is 50ish and is responsible for plant operations around the country for an industrial coatings company. It’s also worth mentioning that he’s not even a season ticket holder.
Kansas City is a small market team. The organization does not have the population base like teams in New York or Chicago. Yet nearly every home game this year has been a sellout or close to a sellout. The stadiums in away games are full of people wearing Royals gear. In short, the fans adore the players on the team. This explains their loyal support, including casting millions of votes for each player.
One reason why fans adore the Royals is character. The character of each individual player is noteworthy if not stellar. There’s also a character about the team. Some writers have called it Small Ball, but the Royals definitely have a swagger. They may not have the big names or the fat payroll but their brand of baseball will pick you apart. Fans love the character of the team as well as the character of individual players. This did not happen by accident. The Royals assess character when selecting players. Their minor-league teams are full of high character players. The Royals were one of the first to adopt the TAP 360 System from The Right Profile.. This system allows scouts unlimited online assessment of prospects and players. The players like this because the assessment is quick and at the end, they receive some feedback regarding their Athlete Type. There are eight Athlete Types and prominent members of the NFL and MLB are listed for each Athlete Type. Coaches and team executives love the system because of the in-depth reports, precision metrics and the fact that results are available instantaneously.
It won’t be long before we know exactly how many Kansas City Royals end up being starters in the All-Star game. But we already know that character counts. It’s probably why the team has found their winning ways. It’s why fans adore individual players as well as the character of the team’s chemistry. The next time, cast your vote for character.