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June 20

The following is feedback to Brian Wilmer's column of June 13 regarding All-Star game voting.

We're in the last week of All Star voting. This is the time when all the sports "purists" come out and
complain about the common man has entirely ruined the All Star Game.

Guess what, guys, this is our game.

"But the best players aren't selected!"

Leave the "best" player selection to the team GMs and fantasy leaguers, this is our time to make the call.
We get to select the people we want to see.

I don't have any problem with:
* Selecting a player because he looks damn good in uniform.
* Selecting a player on the DL because you want to show him he is missed, and not forgotten.
* Selecting a player who we feel gets short-shrift from the media or from his own team.
* Selecting an overhyped player because it's fun to watch him play.
* Selecting a player because he's on the team we watch every day, and it would suck to go a day without
watching him.

Or any other reason we, the people of the Major League Baseball fandom, can dream up. Every day
professional managers dream of the perfect lineups and do their best to put those lineups in play. For
one day out of a year, I get to vote for my perfect lineup. Am I always delighted with the people put out by
the fandom? Well, maybe not, but I'm glad to be able to put my voice out there in the crowd. (Maybe not
25 times, but that's just MLB trying to even the odds between internetters and mailins.)

I remember as a kid picking up my All Star Ballot at the little convenience store a 15 minute walk from my
house. It was late enough that the honeysuckle were all dead, but the sunflowers were rising tall along
the way. I'd get myself a chick-o-stick, a soda, some baseball cards, and my All Star Ballot. I'd gloat over
it the whole way back home, and steal up to my room to contemplate my selections. I'd often keep it a
couple days, thinking seriously about who I wanted to watch bat, trying to guess who the manager would
choose to pitch against them. And then I would send it in, and wait for the results to come out. Was
America with me? Did they want to watch Ozzie Smith tear up again? Would they back my sentimental
favorites (Almost never, but I did so hope)?

I've voted my two ballots this year, just like I used to when I had paper ballots. My mother doesn't care
who plays in the All Star Game, so I justify the second one by saying she'd want me to have her vote.
I refuse to vote 25 times. I've said my say and I'm happy with that.

Play ball, guys.

M.D. Yesowitch Hopkins