Pitching Change

USA TODAY Sports

Yadi or Posey?

What?

Are you voting for Yadier or Posey?

What are they running for?

For the All-Star team!

Oh. Neither.

What? Who, then? Miguel Montero?

No, I just don't vote for All-Stars.

Why not? Don't say it only encourages them.

It's pointless. I mean, you can if you want. But why would you? Your vote doesn't count.

What do you mean? Oh, because no third baseman ever won by a single vote? This is why you didn't vote last November, right?

What? No. I mean, yes, that's why I don't vote in presidential elections. For my vote to matter, I'd have to be the deciding vote out of something like 5 million voters AND our state's electoral votes would have to put one guy over 270. Nothing even close to that has ever happened in the history of the republic.

Except that time it happened to Kevin Costner.

Right, except for that time. Hey, who are they bringing in? The lefty?

Yeah, to face the lefty. It's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ballgames.

But that's not why I don't vote for the All-Star team.

Why don't you?

I literally don't think they count the votes. I think they just make up the numbers.

Really?

Absolutely.

Why would they do that?

For the story. "Host City Shortstop Comes From Behind To Win Final All-Star Spot." About 10 or 15 years ago I noticed that was happening almost every year. It's too pat, a little too perfect.

You really think they're capable of that?

Yeah, you're right. They fly in monitors from the UN to certify the election. I'm sure everything's on the up and up. It's Bud!

Touché. But you really don't think they count them at all?

Well, maybe they go through the motions of doing a count, but if the game is in San Diego, and David Wright and Chase Headley are neck and neck, bet all your money on Headley squeaking through in the end. It serves the drama. Now, maybe they got wise and stopped doing that, but a few of those elections in the '90s seemed suspicious. Nomar the year they played in Fenway ...

Speaking of Kevin Costner, I feel like I'm sitting next to Walter Matthau on a plane.

"He got Maggie's drawers. You know what that means? Means he wasn't any good!"

"That dog don't hunt!"

Love that movie.

I thought you hated Oliver Stone.

I do, but that's a hell of a film. Hey, how many warm-up tosses are they gonna give this guy?

Oh great, another rant about how the games are too long.

It's not that they're too long, it's that they let the batters step out of the box between every pitch for some damned fool reason.

So that's all you got? A couple hinky All-Star votes?

Well, if this were a bad TV show, I'd say I have motive, means, and opportunity. But I have something even better than that.

What's that?

A buddy of mine knew a guy who worked for MLB in New York, who told him they just make up the numbers, make up the vote totals.

You know a guy.

Who knows a guy, yes. But he's a trustworthy guy!

Still, seems a little thin.

Well, you wouldn't want to go to court with it. And like I said, maybe someone got religion and put a stop to it. But would you really put it past our noble commissioner, who helped pilfer something like $10 billion from taxpayers to buy ballparks for his millionaire pals? Who swore he'd have to contract the Twins and Expos? Who fired Shyam Das after he dared to rule against the league? The guy who canceled the World Series?!

Well, when you put it that way. I guess you never hear about how they count the votes, or who counts them. What's that Stalin quote?

"One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic?"

No, the other one.

Oh ... "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

That's the one. Still, I never figured you for a conspiracy theorist.

Oh, I'm not. This is the only conspiracy theory I believe. Well, this one, and that Colonel Sanders puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly.

I'm not kidding, that boy's head is like Sputnik! Looks like they're finally ready. Ten bucks says that intentional walk comes back to bite them this inning.

I'd go with Posey.

What?

I'd vote for Posey over Yadi. If I voted for All-Stars.

Blasphemy. I thought all you SABR nerds cared about defense now.

I look at stats since the last All-Star Game, the last calendar year.

Always gotta be different, don't you?

Head! Peanuts! Now!

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