Leading Off

All-Star voting process has become a Royal pain

Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante throws out Milwaukee Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy on a fielders choice during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 18, 2015.
Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante throws out Milwaukee Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy on a fielders choice during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 18, 2015. AP

What is Omar Infante to do?

The Kansas City Royals second baseman leads the voting to start at his position for the American League in the All-Star Game, even though he is batting only .228.

While all this unwarranted attention might leave Infante somewhat embarrassed, he’ll gladly accept a $500,000 bonus for making the All-Star team – muchas gracias, Royals fans.

If the votes hold up through July 2, Infante won’t be the only Royal at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on July 14. Incredibly, seven of his teammates also lead the A.L. in votes at their respective positions: Eric Hosmer, first base; Mike Moustakas, third base; Alcides Escobar, shortstop; Salvador Perez, catcher; Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, outfield; and Kendrys Morales, DH.

So essentially, the 2015 midsummer classic could be a matchup of the National League All-Stars against the Royals and Mike Trout of the Angels. What a pie-in-the-face moment this could be for new Commissioner Rob Manfred, who said he’s “open to change.”

But what do we expect from fans? You think Giants fans will vote for Adrian Gonzalez over Brandon Belt? Fans mean well, but they will vote for their favorite players from their favorite team. Fans vote with their heart, not for the players who actually deserve to represent their league.

Baseball has done away with the ballpark ballots, with all voting done via the Internet. Every fan may vote up to 35 times. Some, of course, know how to beat the system, and on Friday baseball officials checked fraudulent votes and spiked 60 million to 65 million. Apparently, there was no evidence of foul play in Missouri, just a bunch overzealous and organized Royals fans.

Maybe it’s time for baseball to split the voting for starters between the fans, managers and players. Otherwise, we might see the Royals play the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2016 All-Star Game.

Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527,@SacBeeVictor

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