Oakland Athletics’ Billy Burns Forgotten From All-Star Ballot

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Despite being named the A's regular centerfielder, playing in 14 of 18 games, and batting near .300, MLB left Billy Burns off hte All-Star ballot. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Despite being named the A's regular centerfielder, playing in 14 of 18 games, and batting near .300, MLB left Billy Burns off hte All-Star ballot. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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With a computerized online ballot, there’s just no explanation

OK MLB, riddle me this? How do you leave Billy Burns off the All-Star ballot?

After hyping it up for some time now, Major League Baseball opened balloting on Sunday, April 24 for the 87th All-Star Game, which takes place in San Diego in July. As yours truly was filling out a ballot, I found out that the Oakland Athletics lead-off hitter, who went into today’s game against the Blue Jays batting a near .300 in 14 of the A’s 18 games, was snubbed from even being named.

Of course the .190 hitting Khris Davis and .234 Coco Crisp were listed as Athletics’ outfielders along with regular right fielder Josh Reddick. But, Burns has appeared more than Crisp and Davis, let alone played better. Granted, the ballot is probably drafted at the start of the season, but coming out of spring training, everyone in the 510 (along with the 415, 408, 209, and 916) ALL knew Burns was a lock for the Athletics’ leadoff slot and would be the regular centerfielder for Oakland.

Not the guys at Esurance and MLB obviously.

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Did they not remember Burns came up in mid-April 2015, solidified the Athletics’ leadoff hitter position, played fantastic defense, finished at .294 with a .726 OPS leading all regular Athletic players and competed for the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award – despite playing on a losing team?

What really singes my tail feathers is that this is a COMPUTERIZED online ballot. Last year, MLB eliminated the old paper ballots, so this wasn’t something that had to be sent off for production by a certain date and be released today like the good-old days of the Gillette, and later USA Today, punch card ballot that fans would fill out by the stack-full while waiting for a game to start. I’m sure readers have passed downtime at the game scrutinizing over an All-Star Game ballot at the Coliseum, maybe comparing notes with your seatmates or family members. It just doesn’t seem the same staring at a phone screen trying to do it.

Today’s faux pas MAY be excusable in the paper ballot days when the names had to be known a certain amount of time in advance in order to get the ballots to the printer. It was explainable and partially understandable when you’d see guys at the wrong position, injured players on the ballot, players who had been traded. Or, in the case of Burns, those who aren’t on the ballot, but should be.

MLB always gives the option of a “write-in”, but that has never worked. Unless a guy is having a fantastic year, it’s basically “out of sight, out of mind”.  At least MLB was able to recognize the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story and his incredible year so far, listing him in the NL shortstop candidates.

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Burns may not be having an All-Star year, but that’s not the point. In the age of computerized technology, especially when promoting the technological change, the person in charge should have been competent enough to release an up-to-date and accurate ballot.

Fans can vote up to 35 times online or via mobile devices, with a maximum of five ballots in a 24-hour period and voting ends June 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET.

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