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The All Star Game: A Competing Viewpoint

Today in the very virtual pages of this here site, Ben wrote about the Red Sox players who will start the All Star game. In that post, he wrote the following:

But there's nothing more indicative of the fan voting system's flaws than Derek Jeter--also known as Captain Groundout--being given the starting shortstop position. His replacement Eduardo Nunez is actually showing him up offensively.

Does Jeter deserve to start the All Star game? It depends on how you define an All Star. If the term means the players who had the best half season leading up to the All Star game then no, Jeter is clearly undeserving. But, if All Star means what it says, a player who is all star, then suggesting Jeter should sit for any American League shortstop is ridiculous.

The more I think about it, the more I fall into the second category. One of the things many of us including myself harp on here at OTM is the folly of placing too much emphasis on small samples of data. Voting for the All Star Game based on roughly a third of a season's worth of data falls into that category. We have seventeen seasons of data showing how good Jeter has been. Why throw out sixteen and a half?

The All Star game is, despite Bud's Ridiculous Gambit, a meaningless exhibition. Since 2003 when Selig tied home field advantage in the World Series to the All Star Game, no World Series has got to a game seven. In other words, for all it's "This Means Something!" bluster, this doesn't mean anything. It's a game for fans to watch the best players compete against each other. Or maybe more precisely, it's a game for fans to watch the player fans want to watch compete against each other. Based on that premise, it's tough to argue any shortstop should start over Derek Jeter.