While many people deem the All-Star Game as a meaningless exhibition, there are many decisive factors that can be explained through the voting and the game itself. After the recent of update of votes for this year’s All-Star Game, it’s apparent that the fan perception of Albert Pujols has changed dramatically.
For all intents and purposes, voting is more or less a popularity contest than an actual vote on who’s having the best half a season. But that’s the way it should be, as this is a game for the fans, and they should vote for the players they want to see.
Apparently, fans from either league have no desire to see Pujols in Kansas City this summer. The greatest player of this generation is 900,000 votes behind the leader Prince Fielder.
There are many factors that play into this result. The fact that Pujols is having a down year, he’s in a new city with new fans and the competition at first base in the American League is a lot more competitive than the National League right now.
But it’s worth pointing out that, at about this same time last year, Pujols had 1.8 million more votes than he does right now and was 500,000 votes ahead of Joey Votto for first place. And don’t forget that Pujols had a slow start last year, as well, and missed time with an injury.
The fact fans aren’t pouring in votes for the $250 million first baseman is because they don’t respect him anymore or have that passion to see him play. I believe this is because fans see him as just another money-hungry athlete versus before, when he was adored by all and loved by many.
When Pujols decided to leave the St. Louis Cardinals, I have to admit, I was furious. Not that I’m a big Cardinals fan, but he had the chance to cement a legacy and be respected like a Derek Jeter or Chipper Jones. He had just helped them win a World Series, and then he just ups and leaves them for $50 million more (not positive on the total, but what’s $50 million when you’ve made close to $500 million?).
I think the majority of baseball fans feel the same way I do. It’s not that any of us hate Pujols the way we all hate LeBron James for the way he made his decision, but that luster of a perfect superstar is gone. His legacy will forever be tarnished by this move.
Also, the fact that he sits that low in the voting shows that even Los Angeles fans aren’t exactly warming up to their new prized possession. With that fan base, there is no excuse for Pujols not to be in at least the top two.
As I said, it’s not like any of us don’t like watching the man play, he’s still one of the best in the game. But our view of this poster-child athlete has changed, and that was never more evident to me than his recent fifth-place performance in our sport’s popularity contest.