New royalty?

Evan Glantz

Over the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals completed a two-game “sweep” (the third game was rained out on Sunday) of their cross-town rivals, the Kansas City Royals. Or maybe we should call them the ’27 New York Yankees.

You see, as the voting currently stands, there are seven Royals players in line to start the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. To put that in perspective, the 1939 Yankees hold the record for most starters in an All-Star Game with six. As of June 15, here are the Royals slated to start:

Catcher: Salvador Perez

First Base: Eric Hosmer

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Third Base: Mike Moustakas

Shortstop: Alcides Escobar

Left Field: Alex Gordon

Right Field: Lorenzo Cain

Designated Hitter: Kendrys Morales

Oh, and let’s not forget that Royals manager Ned Yost will be heading up the American League squad.

That’s a far cry from the past 25 years when only three Royals have been selected as starters for the mid-Summer Classic: Perez at catcher in 2014, Jermaine Dye in right field in 2001, and Danny Tartabull as designated hitter in 1991.

And it’s not as if these players aren’t deserving. The Royals do have the best record in the American League at 34-25.

Since 1985, the Royals and their fans have been in hibernation. But that all changed in October of last year during the team’s incredible run to the World Series. The team’s tagline throughout the postseason was “Party Like it’s 1985.” And in the first half of 2015, the party is still going strong. Baseball is back in KC, and the fans are doing everything they can to support their boys in blue.

But many fans see this All-Star voting situation as a Royal headache. To the rest of the baseball world, the All-Star Game is a chance for fans to see all their favorite players on the same field, competing against one another. It’s the one opportunity for people to compare Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (both of whom are in line to start the All-Star Game) head to head (or at least until they meet in the World Series).

Fans will always have a bias toward their team’s players. But the folks in KC have taken it to another level, voting in blocs to make sure their players are the ones taking the field in Cincinnati on July 14.

And I think this is awesome. Sure, the argument can be made that some players might be more deserving to start over the current Royals leading the race – Miguel Cabrera over Hosmer; Josh Donaldson over Moustakas are two that come to mind. But do the starters really matter? Players only play a couple innings anyway before being subbed out. The All-Star Game is like little league – everyone gets to play.

When it comes to the game, fans care much more than the players. Take it from Cabrera. When he was asked about trailing Hosmer in the voting race, the Detroit Tigers first baseman answered with a resounding “I don’t care.”

Cabrera is a nine-time All-Star. He’s been there, done that as they say. Hosmer on the other hand, has never been selected to the game and is in the midst of a breakout season, following a strong postseason. Does Hosmer deserve to start over Cabrera? Statistically, no. But he is deserving of inclusion on the team, and I’m sure he’d find it a meaningful experience.

Instead of being bothered by the fact that Royals fans are stuffing the ballots in support of their players, baseball fans should appreciate the passion and excitement the city has for their team.

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