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All-Star stir: Utley vs. Prado

Newsday’s Mike Rose has been keeping you up to date on balloting for the All-Star teams. Have you noticed one glaring injustice in the National league?

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, in town to play the Yankees, has a big lead over Atlanta’s Martin Prado. Utley is hitting .260 with 10 home runs and 26 runs batted in. Prado is at .333 with six homers and 29 RBIs. He has 92 hits, one less than the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, who leads the majors.

Considering we are writing for the fans, I say this with some degree of trepidation, but also with conviction: Fans should not vote for the All-Star team. Getting one player wrong can invalidate the entire process. The Utley over Prado matter is a classic case of reputation winning over statistics. Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, who will manage the NL team, certainly will certainly select Prado as a reserve.

This is not to say Prado is a better player than Utley. It is merely to point out that the All-Star Game should be about naming the best players this season, not last year or past years or players with star power. Or former stars. That the now retired Ken Griffey Jr. has received over 600,000 votes to be the AL’s designated hitter is ludicrous.

For a period before 1970, players, managers and coaches voted for the All-Star teams and it worked until baseball decided to bring fans into the process to renew interest. Under that thinking, fans should pick the rosters for every team during the regular season. That works in Fantasy Baseball, not the real game.

I would humbly suggest a role for the media in this process. The baseball writers are empowered to vote players into the Hall of Fame, why not an All-Star game? The majority of writers could care less who makes the team and would use objective criteria to make the selections.

The game may belong to the fans, the process of how it functions should not. If we’re going to call it an All-Star game, we should have all stars.

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