By Flint Wheeler
Oh Baseball, you just can’t help yourself but be behind the times. MLB is that weird uncle that you can’t help but invite to the yearly Christmas dinner only to then for the next 364 days talk to your spouse about how he really shouldn’t be invited to the next one. In the most recent MLB All-Star voting update, the Kansas City Royals have seven players in line to start for the American League, with four of those players leading the league in votes.
As of now, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will start over two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, and Royals second baseman Omar Infante, who has a .216 average and the lowest OPS+ this season among qualified players, trails Astros’ Jose Altuve by only 150,000 votes.
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is also behind reigning AL MVP Mike Trout by less than 300,000 votes. If both Infante and Gordon are able to overtake Altuve and Trout, respectively, then the entire American League All-Star starting lineup would be made up of Kansas City Royals.
Some fans and analysts were appalled by the results. Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran wrote an article dedicated to “fixing the AL’s All-Royals All-Star team,” and encouraged readers to vote for non-Royals players instead.
While some of the results are perplexing to say the least, MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman stressed this isn’t the work of a hacker or bots, just a lot of Royals fans, who can vote 35 times each under the league’s rules.
“It’s just energized Kansas City fans both locally and nationally,” Bowman told Business Insider. “Give the Royals and the Royals fans their due. They have been energized since day one.”
“Many of their fans have already voted the maximum 35 times,” he said.
After the latest All-Star voting update, fans who are critical of the voting rules took to Twitter to air their frustration:
“I hope SO bad 7 Royals start the MLB All Star Game. It’ll demand we change the process. That’s an insane joke. Fan voting is beyond dumb.” – ‘Clintonodddehaul’
“AL ALL STAR voting is a joke. Middle America hasn’t known how to properly vote for anything since 2004, or even the 80s. MLB needs change.” – ‘Timpenham24’
While this is the first year of online-only balloting, 80% of votes for last year’s game were cast online, Forbes reports. Bowman says there are no plans to change the voting system.
“There’s a lot of voting left to go, the last few days in voting could equal the first six weeks,” Bowman said. “It’s way premature [to think of changing the voting system], there’s a lot to go yet. We will have energized Tigers fans, energized Mariners fans, energized Orioles fans. These fans get energized for this.”
Voting ends July 2. Thank goodness!