Rowley: Why you should care about All-Star voting

From SABR member Meg Rowley at Baseball Prospectus on June 23, 2016:

I should care about other things.

Part of what good, sabermetric analysis seeks to do is identify what is really Important, and then quantify those Important Things so that we can say with some assurance who is importantly good and importantly bad. We shouldn’t care about pitcher wins (silly!), or be enchanted by early-season marvels (insufficient sample size!), or get overly concerned about slow starts. We end up being curators of Important Things, encouraging fans to exert their caring toward something meaningful, and eschew that which does not matter. We allow for the silly, but defend the significant.

So you and I and everyone we know will tell you that isolated All-Star selections don’t matter. Baseball has decided the outcome of the game should matter, but the selections themselves are left open to such obvious squirreliness that we aren’t meant to ascribe them meaning. They can be kind of hinky; players who deserve to go spend time with their families and players who don’t spend time with their families in front of the camera. There’s a weird alchemy of fan votes and manager selections and injuries that goes into the selections. They wear funny hats or great hats, but never their own hats. Someone will groove one to David Ortiz (not that he particularly needs it) because that’s happens in an All-Star game. We shouldn’t care about this. I shouldn’t care about this. This does not matter. And yet… I do care. I care a lot.

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Originally published: June 23, 2016. Last Updated: June 23, 2016.