The Marlins are trying to stuff the ballot box or something

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2010 All-Star Game.JPGAs far as I’m concerned, every team makes a concerted effort to get their players represented in the All-Star game, but this Associated Press report makes it look like the Marlins might be pushing it a little bit:

If a fan fills out 200 All-Star ballots, available at any of 30
locations around Sun Life Stadium, the Marlins will reward him or her
with two tickets to an upcoming home game.

There’s two caveats:
All eight Marlins on the ballot must be voted for every time, and the
ballots need to be turned in by the conclusion of the sixth inning.

The Marlins are offering smaller prizes for 50 or 100 completed ballots,
such as a Hanley Ramirez figurine.

Okay. Two things. One, the Marlins have a hard enough time getting their fans to come out to the ballpark, so I’m guessing only a small minority will actually be willing to fill out 200 ballots. And two, if there is some Marlins’ superfan who is willing to go all “Sanchez, Uggla, Ramirez, Cantu, Baker, Coghlan, Maybin, Ross” on the ballot 200 times, well, God bless ’em. The Marlins need more fans like you. Why not get rewarded for your efforts?

It’s not like there’s much integrity in the voting process anyway. Did ya’ notice Jimmy Rollins is currently the leading vote-getter for the shortstop position despite only playing in 12 games this season? Okay, so let’s not go crazy here. Besides, Hanley Ramirez could use the boost.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.