Every year the MLB All-Star Game recognizes the greatest players in the game of baseball.
But as big of an honor as it is for players to be selected to the team, it is the players who are not selected that draw the most discussion.
With every All-Star Game, there are bound to be deserving players left off the roster, known as "snubs." Snubs often create heated debates on sports talk shows and among fans.
Two big reasons that deserving players get left off the team is one, that the fans vote for the starting position players, and two, the rule that every team must have a representative at the game.
A big example of this is with Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips leads all National League second baseman with 46 runs batted in and has become known across the league as an amazing fielder.
However, Phillips finished second in the fan voting to Braves' second baseman Dan Uggla and was not selected as a reserve because Jose Altuve was picked as the only representative from the Astros. Understandably, N.L. manager Tony La Russa chose not to have three second basemen.
Statistically, Phillips is having a more productive season than the two players going instead of him, but that's the way the All-Star Game goes sometimes. Not only is this unfortunate for Phillips, but it does not put the National League in the best position to win.
In 2003, Commissioner Bud Selig officially made the Mid-Summer Classic more than an exhibition. Now, the winning league in the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series, which means each league wants to have the best opportunity to win the game.
By allowing the fans to determine the starting lineups, you are not always putting the best players on the field, but instead the most popular players, who may be banged up or having a down year.
I mean, are Uggla, Pablo Sandoval, and Curtis Granderson really having the best seasons at their positions?
Don't get me wrong, I have always liked being allowed to have a say in who starts the game. It's great to be able to support your favorite players.
I've also been a fan of the rule giving every team at least one representative. This way, even fans of struggling teams have reason to watch. After all, that's what the All-Star Game has always been about - the fans.
But it's more than just an exhibition now. "This one counts," as the slogan goes. And if home field advantage in the World Series is on the line, I want to see the best players on the field. The fans shouldn't play such a big role in a game with such big implications.
As far as every team having a rep, Padres' closer Huston Street is a good example. Street, the only San Diego player selected, has put together quite a fine year with 12 saves and a 1.29 earned run average. However, there were already four other closers on the roster, in Jonathon Papelbon, Craig Kimbrel, Joel Hanrahan, and Aroldis Chapman.
How many closers do you really need?
In a game with such high stakes, I would rather have guys like Zach Greinke (9-2, 3.08 ERA), James McDonald (8-3, 2.45 ERA), or Johnny Cueto (9-4, 2.26 ERA) at my disposal.
But, the Padres had to have a rep, and Street was the best candidate.
So not only does that keep a more deserving player off the team, but it makes the team slightly weaker.
I say the MLB should decide one way or the other. Get rid of the current format so that each league can truly have the best players, or take away the implications so that the game can truly be an enjoyable exhibition.
In any all-star event there are always going to be snubs, but they should be decided like this.
Jordan Holland is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at 376-5449 or at firstname.lastname@example.org