There are all kinds of interesting angles to take on the All-Star rosters that were announced yesterday, and we'll certainly be getting to those over the coming days. One of the ones I don't think anyone here at CTB would be inclined to take, however, is how the failure of Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez to make the All-Star team represented an anti-PED statement by the voters. That doesn't stop MLB.com's Mike Bauman, however:
A record 223.5 million votes were cast for the 2009 All-Star Game selections. Without pandering to the audience, this process had both quantity and quality. And it was notable not only for which players the fans elected, but which players the fans did NOT elect . . . In the latter category, the most prominent names would be Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Both were linked this year to performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez was forced to admit his usage of PEDs . . . The voters are to be congratulated for not turning a blind eye to these offenses . . . By omitting this pair, the fans and the players have essentially taken a stand against the use of PEDs.
That's one way to think about it. The other way to think about it is to say that the voters have not turned a blind eye to the fact that Evan Longoria is a heck of a lot more deserving than a guy who has hit .244 in limited play and that Ryan Braun, Raul Ibanez, and Carlos Beltran (and Matt Kemp and a bunch of other guys) are all more deserving than a guy who has played in only 35% of his team's games this season.
Sure, the fans rejecting the cheaters en masse makes for a nice story and everything, but it's not like keeping Manny and A-Rod out of the All-Star game requires some political statement. Neither is deserving on the merits and neither made it. Given that, with the large exception of Josh Hamilton, the fans did a pretty good job with the votes, I'd offer that their exclusion was a baseball judgment, not a political one.