Major League Baseball tweeted out the current American League All-Star vote recipients. This will probably make people mad:
AL @AllStarGame ballot leaders: 1B Cabrera 2B Kinsler SS Jeter 3B Donaldson C Wieters OF Trout, vote leader OF Bautista OF Ellsbury DH Ortiz— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2014
Derek Jeter isn't an All-Star anymore; at least, in the sense that he's not producing at that kind of level. He's still an All-Star, however, thanks to fans who haven't let his slide stop them from voting him as the top shortstop in the American League. That puts him in line, at this early juncture, to start at shortstop on July 15 at Target Field.
And that's just fine.
Please don't open up Fangraphs and sort by wins above replacement as a counterargument or tell me that "This time it counts!" or whatever your natural reaction to an "undeserving" player being in the All-Star Game is. I get that point of view: It's a more than justifiable one, especially if you care about watching the Game itself or are very concerned about who gets home field advantage in the World Series because of it. I'm more of a fan of All-Star Game moments, though, and Jeter getting his last hurrah and an eventual standing ovation from a capacity crowd in Minnesota is a moment I look forward to the most, even as a Red Sox fan. I don't mean that in a "Good riddance" way, either. It'll be cool to see the players and fans give him love in his 14th and final appearance before he retires.
Yeah, Jeter's past his prime, and his defense has always been questionable, but that's as beside the point now as it has ever been. He's one of the greatest shortstops ever -- if not the greatest -- in spite of his deficiencies. Last summer, the most memorable moment of the All-Star Game was the retiring Mariano Rivera coming out for his moment in the spotlight. Jeter will likely end up starting at shortstop this time around, maybe play a few innings, and leave with a tip of the cap to the crowd in much the same fashion as his long-time teammate, Mo. I look forward to it, just as I'll look forward to the eventual retirements and All-Star Game honorings of players to come.
If you want to argue about who should be number one at each position, I guess find out why Orioles' fans are voting for Matt Wieters to catch when his elbow is keeping him off the field for O's games, or why Yankees fans are pushing Jacoby Ellsbury for the All-Star Game during a so-so season. You can probably leave Jeter out of those arguments, though, given he's going to be what we remember most from this summer's classic anyway.
If you're really that upset about it, vote 9,000 times or whatever MLB is allowing you to go up to these days for [current WAR leader] at shortstop. Be the change you want to see, you guys.