Historically, the Kansas City Royals have never featured prominently in the All-Star Game. This year, Kansas City fans have created a fervor in the online polls, and now the Royals are poised to have five American League starters on July 14. From Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star:
- "In the first year of exclusively online voting — no paper ballots — Royals fans helped create a ballot bonanza for baseball. More than 500 million ballots have been cast, crushing the record of 391 million set in 2012. 'Back in the old days, when they did voting at the stadium, there was a lot of stuffing the ballot box,' Royals and American League manager Ned Yost said. 'This is just a different form of it. I don’t think any fan base has responded the way ours have.'
The online system allows a fan to cast a vote 35 times from a single web address. In Kansas City, many voters would not only max out the ballot, but also borrow email addresses from family and friends to vote again. While the support has been welcome in Kansas City, the aggressive voting has also created tension.
- “I understand loyalty from Royals fans and wanting to have their players there,” the Toronto Blue Jays' José Bautista said in June. “But as a baseball fan, not just a Royals fan, you have to want the best players starting the All-Star Game. I don’t know what’s going on, if there’s a 14-year-old computer whiz creating all these fake accounts, who knows?”
Royals catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar, second baseman Omar Infante, and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon have maintained their leads heading into Sunday. ESPN will announce the American and National League starting lineups Sunday evening.