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CBSSports.com National Columnist

Sorry, baseball nerds, I'll vote for All-Stars I want to see

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You had until midnight Thursday to be a jackass. You had until midnight to be a jerk, a moron, everything wrong with the MLB All-Star selection process. That's you. And me. Because until the polls closed on midnight Thursday, we had the ability to pick the starters for the 2011 All-Star Game -- and of course we were doing it wrong.

The baseball nerds say so.

All-Star Selections
American League
Pos.Doyel's ballotFan leader
1BMiguel CabreraAdrian Gonzalez
2BDustin PedroiaRobinson Cano
SSElvis AndrusDerek Jeter
3BAdrian BeltreAlex Rodriguez
CJoe MauerRussell Martin
DHVictor MartinezDavid Ortiz
OFJose BautistaBautista
OFCurtis GrandersonGranderson
OFAdam JonesJosh Hamilton
National League
Pos.Doyel's ballotFan leader
1BJoey VottoAlbert Pujols
2BChase UtleyRickie Weeks
SSJose ReyesTroy Tulowitzki
3BChipper JonesPlacido Polanco
CBrian McCannMcCann
OFJay BruceRyan Braun
OFMatt KempLance Berkman
OFHunter PenceMatt Holliday

Well you know what? The hell with them. The All-Star Game isn't for the baseball nerds. It's not for the hand-wringers or the arbiters of What Is Right. It's not supposed to be for home-field advantage, either, though that's given to the league that wins this game. If that's a problem for some people, well, take it up with commissioner Bud Selig. He's the jackass, the jerk, the moron who overreacted to the All-Star tie in 2002 by turning this midseason fantasy fling into something as serious as the destination of Game 7 of the World Series.

That's his problem. Not yours. Not mine, either, because I'm like lots of you -- I went to the MLB website this week and voted. Picked my own All-Star team, in both leagues, just because. I had never done it before, wanted to do it now, and you know what? It was fun.

And it was mine. All mine. The baseball nerds and the hand-wringers and the arbiters of What Is Right can disagree with most of my picks, and no doubt they would, but that ballot wasn't for them. It was for me, just like yours is for you.

This thing isn't an IQ test, though that's what the church ladies would have us believe. They look at the MLB All-Star ballot as another shot at the SAT or something, and there's a chance to get a 1,600 on this thing, but only if you vote for Alex Avila at catcher and Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop in the American League, and if you pick Aramis Ramirez at third in the National League. Or something like that. That was my half-hearted guess at What Is Right, when the truth is, I don't care.

The All-Star Game is What Is Fun, or at least it should be. It was created to be. Over time sportswriters got in the way, as only sportswriters can do, tut-tutting about the voting preferences of the Neanderthals who attended games -- you know, the actual fans. And now bloggers have picked up the baton and run with it, and so it's everywhere you look on the Internet:

These. Choices. Are. Wrong.

Boo-frigging-hoo, people. You're breaking my heart. But you're not changing my ballot, because you can't. It's been filed. I went through the online process like a fan, and picked the players I want to see. I didn't try to guess which players would make the team, so I'd feel smug and smart when I turned on the game and saw that I'd correctly picked 15 of the 16 position players, like this is the NCAA tournament and we're all trying to accurately predict the field of 64, 65 68.

No. This isn't that. This is an exercise in personal preference, and my preference is to see Chipper Jones. I don't care that he's hitting 40 points less than Ramirez, or has two fewer home runs. I don't even care that Jones leads all National League third basemen in RBI. I'm not trying to reward him. I'm trying to reward me, because when I turn on the TV, I'll want to watch Chipper Jones. It's as simple as that.

You can keep your Asdrubal Cabreras and Aramis Ramirezes. Gregg Doyel will stick with standbys Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones. (Getty Images)  
You can keep your Asdrubal Cabreras and Aramis Ramirezes. Gregg Doyel will stick with standbys Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones. (Getty Images)  
I also want to watch Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Adam Jones, Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp. Not because they're the best players at their position, though some of them might be. But because I want to watch them.

I want to watch them.

This stuff isn't that hard. It's democracy, is what it is. If more people want to watch Derek Jeter than anyone else who plays shortstop in the American League, then Derek Jeter will start at shortstop. Even if he is hitting .260 with two home runs. Even if he has been injured. He's one of the most popular athletes in this country, and people want to watch him.

Other people, the baseball nerds and the hand-wringers, would argue for Asdrubal Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta, whether you want to see them -- or know who they play for -- or not. The All-Star vote is another chance for snobby baseball fans to show how smart they are.

In 2003, Selig gave the snobs a thick shrub to hide behind when he determined that the league that won the All-Star Game would have home-field advantage in the World Series, which is illogical, unfair and patently absurd. Meanwhile, the snobs have been scolding the rest of us about our stupid picks for decades, well before 2003, so don't be fooled by the World Series argument. That's just the nerds' most compelling argument that they're right, and we're wrong.

So forget about Jeter and Chipper. And for the love of God, people, stop voting for Russell Martin over Alex Avila (plays for Detroit) at catcher. The All-Star Game isn't supposed to be fun -- it's supposed to be steamed cabbage. Gross as hell, but it's good for you. So have your Asdrubal Cabrera and like it!

Meh. I'd rather have Elvis Andrus.


Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
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