Prospect analysts believed Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson could one day develop into an All-Star, but they didn’t anticipate the accomplishment would be handed to him. If one ESPN radio host gets his way, the struggling Brinson will receive one of baseball’s highest honors this season.
Brinson, 24, is hitting just .161, but that hasn’t stopped Dan Le Batard from taking up his cause. He’s encouraging fans of his show to flood the ballots so that Brinson is in the running to be a starter for the contest.
Why is Dan Le Batard doing this?
Le Batard is no stranger to this type of thing. He was the person who turned over his Hall of Fame ballot to Deadspin in 2014. Part of the reason Le Batard did that was to expose the absurdity of the voting process.
Le Batard’s goal might be the same here. Major League Baseball’s All-Star voting process is flawed. Starters are decided by fan votes, and fans can definitely flood the ballots. Le Batard possibly wants to show that this method is silly. Or maybe he just wants to mess with the system.
He even has a graphic supporting Brinson’s cause.
Is it working?
We don’t have voting results yet, but there’s evidence fans of Le Batard’s show are stuffing the ballots. Awful Announcing posted a couple tweets from fans who voted Brinson into the game. Given Le Batard’s large audience — especially in Miami where he lives — we wouldn’t be shocked it Brinson was doing really well in the first voting update by MLB.
Does Brinson know about it?
He does! And he’s handling it well. He took the opportunity to urge fans of Le Batard’s show to vote for teammates J.T. Realmuto or Starlin Castro instead.
The ultimate team player. Vote Brinson! pic.twitter.com/sO3gDFnQSn
— Billy Gil (@billygil) June 5, 2018
Fans won’t be denied, though. They are just using those comments as more fuel to vote for Brinson by saying his selfless attitude makes him even more of an All-Star.
Part of this is kind of cruel, right?
A little bit, yeah. Making a mockery of the voting process also comes at the expense of Brinson. He’s a young, talented player who is really scuffling right now. While he’s handling things well publicly, we don’t know if he’s beating himself up mentally over his candidacy being used as a joke.
Brinson is a top prospect who hasn’t produced in the majors just yet. It’s likely one of the first times in his career he’s dealt with failure and a stunt like this could further shake his confidence.
What if this actually happens?
It won’t. MLB put in protections against this type of thing when Kansas City Royals fans tried to make Omar Infante a starter. Infante was in the running to start in both 2015 and 2016 even though he hit a combined .225 in those two seasons. Infante was actually released in 2016 while he was still third in the All-Star voting at second base.
At some point in that process, MLB decided having Infante start an All-Star Game wasn’t a great idea. They tried to crack down on illegal voting and conveniently found enough of that to make sure Infante didn’t make it. Expect the same thing to happen with Brinson.
(BLS H/N: Awful Announcing)
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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