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All-Star balloting takes a step backward

Major League Baseball continues to devalue the act of actually going to the ballpark in person with its new on-line All-Star Game balloting format.

It used to be that if you wanted to vote for who got to play in the mid-summer classic, you had to go to the ballpark and fill out a ballot manually. Later MLB started printing the ballots in USA Today and eventually they appeared on mlb.com where you could fill out as many ballots as you wanted... But you actually had to fill out the ballots one by one.

This year, you fill out one ballot and enter a validation code to prove you aren't a rogue, baseball hating computer and then hit enter. And when you're done, another validation code appears in the box and the "vote" key changes asks if you want to "vote again."

Fill out one ballot and you can enter it 25 times without actually punching out the holes or clicking on the box next to the most deserving players' names... Why even fill out a ballot at the ballpark when some slacker kid from Cincinnati who has never ever been to the ballpark can vote for Jonny Gomes 25 times for every ballot you fill out for Matt Holliday?

If you're going to fill out a ballot, shouldn't you have to actually fill it out instead of mindlessly hitting a button to re-vote 25 times?

I doubt this has much impact on a potential ticket buyer's decision of whether to attend in person or watch the game from home. But baseball needs to get more savvy with its marketing because attendance is down about 6 percent this year. Even in cities where ticket prices have been cut and their teams are competitive.

Most believe that its because the experience of following baseball remotely has become so good that most people would rather sit in front of the tube than get off their hind ends and go to the ballpark. And that's a business plan that can't survive over the long haul.

While it's nice to get people who don't make it to ballgames interested in baseball on some level, I wonder how much it could alienate die hard fans when All-Star Game injustices happen thanks to electronically stuffed ballot boxes.

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