Kenley Jansen isn’t here to win fans’ hearts.
Speaking with the media after Sunday’s loss to San Diego, Jansen made it clear how he felt about Justin Turner and Corey Seager losing out on starting spots in All-Star voting.
It’s the fans’ fault.
Kenley Jansen on Seager and Turner not getting voted to start: "I'll say it loud and clear again. It's the Dodger fans' fault."
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 3, 2017
Jansen’s argument holds weight. The system is a popularity contest. There isn’t much more to it. So, while it can be debated if Jansen should’ve said anything on record, his point rings true: Dodger fans didn’t vote enough.
There’s a multitude of reasons the Dodgers don’t get much All-Star support annually. Not to beat a dead horse, but you know the oft-repeated factors: fair weather fans, east coast bias, better things to do in L.A., the games aren’t broadcast locally, etc.
But it’s 2017, the age of accessibility. L.A. is the second biggest market in MLB, and the Dodgers have one of the largest fan bases in sports. Chicago fans loaded the All-Star Game with Cubs a year ago, with the small market Kansas City fans doing similar in 2014.
This process falls on fan responsibility. That gives fair credence to Jansen’s comments.
Zack Cozart beat out Seager for the starting shortstop gig. Cozart isn’t exactly a household name and plays for the sub-.500 Cincinnati Reds. Cincy is an outstanding baseball town, but in the midst of a rebuild, how motivated would fans be to vote for a veteran who’s likely to be traded in a month?
Apparently more so than the Dodger fans were to support their 23-year-old MVP candidate.
Turner didn’t make the team, which even with the NL’s infield depth seems absurd. He lost out to Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant in voting (Bryant didn’t make the team either). Now Turner relies on the fan vote in the final five. Perhaps that’s an opportunity for Dodger supporters to right what Jansen considers a wrong.
— Kourtney (@court_with_a_K) July 3, 2017
The Dodgers are the best team in the NL, winners of 20 of 24. Yet they’re represented by only four All-Stars and no starters. Even Dave Roberts said he anticipated six participants, but Turner’s and Alex Wood’s unexpected absences changed that.
In a system that rewards ballot stuffing, Jansen can justifiably criticize fans – whether they like it or not.
It’s a flawed system, but one must play the cards he or she is dealt, and Jansen’s feelings are that Dodger fans failed to do so. Those are powerful remarks coming from a man who, just after re-signing last offseason, wouldn’t stop gushing over bringing L.A. fans a championship.