Yes we can put a true fan of the national pastime on the All-Star team
By Ben Krull
The league bosses have excluded me from the ballot and ESPN refuses to cover my candidacy. But if you join my write-in campaign to play in the 2010 Baseball All-Star Game, we can send a message to the establishment.
The national pastime does not belong to the owners, the commissioner or the players’ union. It belongs to everyday fans like you and me, and it is time we took our game back!
I am the child of Brooklyn Dodger fans, who immigrated to Manhattan. As a first-generation Upper East Sider, I understand the stress of watching the value of your baseball card collection go down, and the disappointment of striking out with the bases loaded while playing Wii.
The powers that be feel threatened by our cause. A high-ranking official in the commissioner’s office offered me upper deck seats to a minor league game if I agreed to quit my campaign. But no amount of riches can tempt me to forgo this crusade.
They want me out of the race because I am an outsider. I have never been to Wrigley Field, Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. I don’t even know the words to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”
I am not an American League fan or a National League fan—I am just a baseball fan. I root for the Yankees and the Mets, and will bring bipartisanship to the locker room.
My opponents are so desperate that they are spreading false rumors. They say that I don’t stretch during the seventh inning, or doff my cap when listening to the national anthem.
But I refuse to be drawn into negative campaigning. I will not point out that several of my competitors have been suspended for using steroids, or that a certain outfielder on the ballot switched from the Red Sox to the Yankees, just for the money.
I will run the most transparent campaign in All-Star Game history. I will reveal the names of all the players on my fantasy league team, and will give the media unfettered access to my Little League statistics.
I know this is an uphill fight. But even though the polls have me running behind the San Diego Padres’ batboy, I embrace the challenge of running against candidates funded by big market teams.
This election is not about me. It is about Billy, a 10-year-old in Cincinnati, who waited an hour outside of AT&T Park in San Francisco, only to have his favorite player turn down his autograph request. It is about Thelma, a grandmother on a fixed income from Detroit, who can no longer afford to see her beloved Tigers play because player salaries have driven up ticket prices.
With your help, I will take on the fat cats in the luxury boxes and the batters who shred the rulebook by swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. Together we will build a centerfield fence to stop Dominican and Japanese players from taking over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
If you are fed up with elite athletes who see baseball as a career rather than a game, if you are tired of hitters who care more about their batting average than they do about average fans, then throw the game a change-up by writing Ben Krull on your All-Star ballot.
If I make the team, I will always remember who put me on the roster. I will fight to return baseball to its roots, and will once again make the national pastime a game by, for and of the bleacher bums.
Ben Krull is a lawyer and essayist who lives on the Upper East Side.