The American Idol-ization of MLB’s All-Star Voting

It’s that time of year when the teenage girl in the short shorts and platinum blonde smile holds out a handful and asks, “Would you like one?”

That’s right; it’s baseball’s annual answer to the PENTHOUSE Forum: the mostly fictional facade of MLB All-Star Game voting, where your vote counts increasingly less each year in a game that supposedly counts more than ever.

Carrie Underwood collectible card

That peppy young lass from the organization with the stack of ballots would like you to fill out a couple hundred or so at the ballpark and then she’ll give you a big reward. (In Arizona, the Diamondbacks whip out a team shop gift certificate. Your local franchise’s well-intentioned bribes may vary.) You don’t want to disappoint her, do you?

If punching stacks of cards for your hometown team doesn’t excite you, then maybe you could join a cause to stuff the ballot boxes from the comfort of your own desk at work.

Perhaps you’d like to ironically vote for Manny Ramirez to show it doesn’t really count; maybe you’d like to join the Juan Pierre movement to show your disgust for the Manny Ramirez movement and/or Web-based hipsters racked with irony. There’s a Web site for both.

There’s even a NatsTown effort in Boston to vote in as many Washington Nationals as possible because, in theory, they’ll make it easier for the Red Sox to take home field advantage in the World Series they’re clearly destined to partake in.

Not to mention the “Final Vote” for fans akin to the NCAA’s college basketball tourney play-in game but with more ballot-cramming (and half those players could end up on the team anyway after All-Star flu infects the rosters) and so on.

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because you too had your mind confiscated by the “American Idol” beast years ago. VOTEFORTHEWORST? Check. Curiously organized fan voting in tribal patterns using untoward technical advantages? Cheeeeeck. Bringing people back after being voted off? Check. Sex sells? Check, please.

So please disregard any discussion of what The Fans want in their All-Star Game this July because that has absolutely nothing to do with the selection process. Instead, ask how much jumping up and down and waving of arms will keep your attention on an exhibition game.

After all, the platinum blonde’s first job is to dance on the dugout a few times a day, so you know it works. In fact, why not ask for her name so you can write it in on your ballot 200 times? At least you’ll get to vote for what you really want.