ESPN really wants you to believe that fans love Yasiel Puig, despite evidence to the contrary
The campaign for Puig started when everyone noticed that he wasn't on the ballots when it came time for fans to vote for the starters. That actually makes a ton of sense, since Puig didn't even make an appearance in LA until June 3, after the voting had already begun.
Once Puig started going on a tear to begin his MLB career, ESPN took notice and started campaigning for his All-Star candidacy.
There's definitely merit behind that campaign. Puig's WAR is currently 2.6, and right outside the top 20 among NL hitters. That certainly would put him in the All-Star conversation, and it's not ridiculous to say that he deserves inclusion.
That having been said, it's also not ridiculous to say that there are other players who are more deserving, even if only by virtue of their 200+ additional at-bats.
Once Puig was included in the "Final Vote" contest, ESPN backed off a little bit. After all, this was a chance for the fans to voice their approval for Puig and vote him into the game. ESPN's contention this whole time is that Puig is the guy that fans really want to see. So surely the fans would vote him into the game, right?
While there are definitely some questions about the validity of the voting system, Puig still didn't make it with the fan vote. Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman won that vote, and will be the last man off the bench for the NL team.
So did fans really want to see Puig? Or is that just a myth perpetuated by ESPN for... what reason, exactly?
In an ESPN blog post, David Schoenfield points out that Freeman is still a worthy candidate, but the post reeks of sour grapes. Look no further than the post's URL, where it contains the words "braves-fans-happy-america-sad-no-puig."
Were Braves fans the only ones voting? Is America REALLY sad that Puig didn't win? That doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, for every fan saying that he deserved to be in, there's another one saying that he simply hasn't played enough games.
The fact is that this is just like Tim Tebow. America has not reached a consensus on whether or not Tebow should be a starting QB. There's a group that thinks he should be, and a group that thinks he shouldn't. With Puig, there are people who think he should be an All-Star, and others who believe that this year is just a little too soon.
With Tebow, people get passionate about it because a starting QB can dictate the fate of an entire franchise, for good or for bad.
With Puig, it's almost uncomfortable and weird if you really care that much about his All-Star bid.
Unless you're a Dodgers fan or you're of Cuban descent, there's really not a huge reason for you to rally for Puig to make the All-Star game. Sure, he has been excellent, but the sample size is absurdly small. I understand the idea that some people want him in the ASG, but why get so excited about it?
On the flip side, if you're really passionate in your belief that he SHOULDN'T get in, what's your deal? Unless you're a Giants fan and simply hate all Dodgers, why do you care so much?
Puig's inclusion (or exclusion) in the All-Star Game is a typical non-issue that has been blown up by ESPN to try to convince you that you should watch their crappy debate shows, read their articles, follow their Twitter accounts, etc.
When all is said and done, if Puig is as good as people think he is, he'll make a dozen All-Star games by the time his career is over. Let's not get too crazy about this one. Despite what MLB would lead you to believe... it still doesn't actually matter.