On Sunday, left-fielder Alex Gordon was passed over as the Kansas City representative to the 2011 MLB All-Star game. Royals' teammate Aaron Crow, a rookie relief pitcher, was the choice of AL All-Star team manager Ron Washington of Texas to fill the requisite Kansas City spot on this year's team.
That sparked quite a controversy around Kansas City, but Gordon, whose numbers through the first half of the season are good enough to lead all American League left fielders - .296 batting average with 10 home runs, 46 RBIs, a team-best 24 two-base hits and an impressive 13 outfield assists - was afforded a second chance to make the AL All-Star Squad as one of five candidates to be chosen by the fans for the 34th and final position on the AL All-Star roster.
The fan voting for the final All-Star spot in both the American and National Leagues ended at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, and first baseman Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies' center-fielder Shane Victorino were the runaway choices of the fans to fill those final two roster spots. The Royals' Gordon finished third in the AL balloting, behind catcher Victor Martinez of Detroit but ahead of center-fielder Adam Jones of Baltimore and Tamp Bay Rays second-baseman Ben Zobrist.
Under the current process for All-Star team selections in both leagues, the fans vote for the starters at each position but pitcher, then the MLB players and All-Star managers fill out the rest of the roster spots. One roster spot is left open on both the AL and NL teams, however, and a five-player run-off is held, determined again by fan vote, for the final position on the teams.
Regarding Konerko's selection to the AL squad, my thought is this is more of a correction vote. By all measures, the White Sox first baseman's first-half numbers (.316 batting average, 22 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .954 on-base-plus-slugging percentage) are good enough to have been the starter, in my opinion.
The record will show that Gordon was snubbed twice in the selection process for the 2011 American League All-Star team - once by manager Ron Washington in filling out the reserve spots and pitching staff for the team, and then in the fan voting for the final roster position - but the reality is that once Gordon was passed over by Washington, because of the need for a relief pitcher instead of a seventh outfielder, his chances of winning the fan vote were virtually non-existent.
I mean, come on, how would any player from a small-market team like Kansas City outgain popular players like the power-hitting Konerko and one of the league's best hitters in Tigers' catcher Martinez, both of whom play in two of the larger markets in the Major League Baseball? Candidly, it's a little surprising to me that Gordon was able to command the share of the vote he did to finish third in the last-in All-Star balloting.
To be brutally honest, no Kansas City player is worthy of a spot on this year's American League All-Star game. The rules, however, require that every team have at least one player selected to the team. Of all of the Royals, Gordon is probably Kansas City's most valuable player over the first half of the season, by far his best season thus far in his five roller-coaster seasons in the major leagues, all with the Royals.
In the category of what might have been, consider this scenario: If Minnesota's Joe Mauer had not been injured, he easily would have made the All-Star squad, negating the need to go with outfielder Michael Cuddyer as the Twins' lone representative. Without Cuddyer's selection, AL manager Washington would have been able to add another outfielder to the roster, and likely would have gone with Gordon to fill the Kansas City spot on the team.
The All-Star selection process failed this time, no two ways about it. Alex Gordon should be going to next Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at Chase Field in Phoenix. Did you see Aaron Crow's last two relief appearances (against the White Sox on Monday and the Tigers on Thursday) after his selection to the All-Star team? Hardly outings you would consider to be All-Star quality.
Maybe the Kansas City left-fielder shouldn't feel so bad when the list of players snubbed from MLB All-Star rosters this season include big names like CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis of Boston and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies.
It will be most interesting to see how things work out for the Royals next season when the 2012 MLB All-Star game will be played at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.