When great kingdoms and civilizations fall, the vacuum always gets filled with new royalty, a fresh regime with liberated, enthusiastic followers. This season’s All-Star balloting reflects a monumental shift in who the fans consider baseball royalty.
The most players B-More has ever had voted to start the All-Star Game is three. In 1971, Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson went. In 1997, they flossed Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson as AL starters.
The O’s are currently dominating baseball’s All-Star voting, with four players leading their positions. Outfielders Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hold down two of the starting spots, and Jones is leading all AL outfielders with 2,740,505 votes as of Tuesday morning (according to the MLB Network).
J.J. Hardy has supplanted an immovable object in Derek Jeter, as the AL’s favorite shortstop. While Chris “Crash” Davis broke out in ’12 with a B-More squad that foreshadowed the “Takeover” that's occurring in the AL East, by giving the Yankees major fits in the regular season and the playoffs.
As the Yankees performance and culture becomes increasingly average, the O’s have emerged as “the Cool Kids” and are obviously the people’s choice moving forward.
A Yankees demise was somewhat predicted, especially after losing most of their payroll to injuries. Some people call it bad luck. Others call it an inevitable occurrence in the O’s rise to stud status. At this point, only a Boston team playing “over its head” stands between the O’s and their first AL East Division title since ’97.
In past All-Star games, AL teams were plastered with Yankees. When it’s time to pick the game’s best players, fans almost always choose veteran cats with name recognition.
With the exception of Boston, anything non-Yankees was rubbish to most fans for a large part of the past 15 years; but in the words of W.R.A.T.H., “It’s a new day.”
The next generation is here, raging against the machine and supporting a fresh crew of fan-favorites.
Markakis passed Detroit Tigers perennial All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter in the race for the third and final starting spot recently. Additionally, Davis leads four-time All-Star, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder by more than a million votes.
Best thing about it is that all these cats are 30-and-younger. That includes the golden boy, 21-year-old Manny Machado, who will probably make the team as a reserve.
The 27-year-old Jones has been knocking on the door of elite status for a while now. His lights-out leather and all-around game is finally getting noticed as he’ll be playing in his second-straight All-Star Game and third overall.
Even more impressive is Markakis (29), who has been a solid player for terrible O’s teams and now, as part of a winning squad, is finally getting to start his first All-Star contest.
Hardy’s been a solid player, making the team as a reserve in ’07 as a member of the Brewers. His deft glove has fit perfectly into O’s skipper Buck Showalter’s mix.
Davis’ rise from soldier to nobleman is another seemingly pre-destined stroke of luck for the O’s, who will make NY’s Citi Field on July 7th look more like the Fourth of July at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.