The Milwaukee Brewers have taken All-Star Game ballot shenanigans to an all-time low with the release of a political style attack ad urging fans to vote not only in favor of their catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. But also against St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina.
I get it. I realize it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. But, at the same time, the move to politicize All-Star balloting is the lowest blow yet in the unfortunate practice of teams trying to stuff the ballot with their players' names. I wish they'd just leave things alone and not pressure fans to vote as many times as possible for a ballot of only home town players.
And it's one thing to promote your players, but another thing entirely to tear down opposing players. Especially since Molina has been involved in some tense moments with the Brewers.
Lucroy is a good player having a great year and he'd probably make the Midsummer Classic without the attack ad as the manager's selection. But many players in the past have been voted in when they're obviously not the best players that year, up to an including the Cincinnati Reds stuffing the ballot box in 1957 and getting their players named to seven of the eight starting position player slots. The only player from a different team to overcome the stunt was Cardinals superstar Stan Musial.
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The mess caused the commissioner to name Willie Mays and Hank Aaron to the senior circuits starting All-Star Game squad -- and to strip fans of their voting rights until 1970 to try to keep some integrity for the game.
The Milwaukee stunt is extremely unlikely to work with Lucroy more than a million votes behind Molina. The nature of the ad, which insulted the St. Louis franchise, will likely inspire Redbirds fans to come out in force to make sure the gambit doesn't work. And if the Cardinals wanted to be petty about it, it could sway manager Mike Matheny could refuse to select Lucroy as a reserve player on his roster.
How would Brewers fans feel if Cardinals fans punched Peter Bourjos' name enough times to make him the NL's starting centerfielder even though he's lost his full time job and is struggling to hit .200?
Milwaukee isn't alone in the game playing, however. The Reds are currently offering a chance to get an autographed jersey to fans who vote the maximum number of times online, presumably for Cincinnati players.