MELBOURNE: MLB’s All Star Game “Election” Format is Probably Here to Stay, Despite Mixed Reaction

MLB Jun 28, 2019

Hey, they tried something new.

It surely made a lot of money, since it drove voters to MLB.com and Google.com repeatedly instead of once. It’s almost certainly going to return for a sophomore attempt in 2019.

It’s a great system for Major League Baseball, and it’s a great system for Google, a company that’s worked closely with the league for a while now.

It’s just not a great system for the fans.

As the internet has evolved, so has the way companies have addressed making a profit from advertising through different strategies. One very common way for blogs and journalistic sites to do this, especially lately, is to make lists. You’ve seen them.

“10 Reasons (Your Favourite Player) is Actually Terrible!”

Once you get to the page, you’ll see an opening paragraph and, if you’re lucky, the first point on the list — generally supplemented with a couple of sentences and a very large image. There’s also a “next” button, so the page can reload, more ads can load, and you can continue down the list.

In a way, it’s an art on how corporations have adapted to the online age. Getting 12 or more clicks on one story instead of just the one? It works — whether consumers like it or not. It is, admittedly, hard to click away after just a few items on the list. It plays with the consumer’s brain.

It’s something you wouldn’t necessarily see a few years ago, when big companies were still figuring all of this out. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game ballot is a great example of this. When it launched on MLB.com over a decade ago, it was formatted exactly like the now-discontinued paper ballots. You could vote several times with one email address, and then close the page. After about five (or twenty, for the really dedicated voters that kept submitting until the limit) minutes, you’d be done with the process and could move on with your day.

Now, though, Google and MLB have adapted. They’ve done an admirable job of hiding it through promotion and “election” branding, but their new system is clearly just a way to get more clicks onto their sites. You’d go on, vote once on Google or the Major League site, and go back later to vote again. It gets more eyes on the site, plainly by getting users on there twice as much to confirm everything. If a Yankees fan voted for Gio Urshela in the original round, they’d have to go reiterate their support once he made that last voting section.

Speaking of that last “election-style” voting section, doesn’t it remove some of the suspense? Locking each position to three players gives less incentive for fans from less successful teams to keep spreading the word.

Go back to the ballot from yesterday.

You don’t see any Toronto Blue Jays, do you?

It’s a pretty clunky system as currently implemented, and many suspect that there will be alterations made for next year. Through it all, though, don’t be surprised when the election-style voting system make a return next season. As well, don’t be surprised when they find more ways to get you to click on the screen more often.

It’s just the way the internet has evolved. Major League Baseball is evolving with the times.

NOTES FROM THE ALL-STAR GAME ROSTER

  • It’s tremendous to see Hunter Pence back as a starter for an All-Star team after it looked like he’d struggle to make a team. He’s a very hard worker, and everywhere he goes, fans get attached to the kind of player and person he is.
  • Many will have already thought that Carlos Santana’s been to an All-Star game before, but now that’s reality. He’s having a very nice season for Cleveland, so it’s well deserved, but in hindsight, he also should have gone to the All-Star game in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He’s one of the game’s more underrated players.
  • A breakout season is rewarded, with Jorge Polanco being given the nod. The fans got it right — he completely deserves it.
  • Tommy La Stella finished as the runner-up to DJ LeMahieu at second base in the American League, and that was the correct result. The Angels have nothing to be disappointed in, though. La Stella is nearly as good as LeMahieu, and he’s making $1.35M this year instead of $12M.
  • Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Mike Trout were absolute no-brainers and it’s good to see that they’ll be in their correct spots for the game.
  • The Blue Jays will likely be represented by Marcus Stroman in the All-Star game. There’s not really much competition there — Ken Giles missed some time due to an injury and Lourdes Gurriel hasn’t been hitting well for long enough. As meaningless as it really is, the nod to Cleveland should be a nice boost for Stroman’s trade value.

Patrick Melbourne

641. Editor-In-Chief, College of Sports Media Graduate (2019), Broadcaster for Rogers TV in Barrie.

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