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Could This Single-A Catcher With One MLB At-Bat Make The All-Star Game?

Photo: Lynne Sladky/AP

All-star games are an inelegant but closest-we’re-gonna-get answer to beer-fueled debates on whether League’s Best Player could beat League’s Other Best Player in a game with the finest supporting casts available. Because the public gets to vote on the picks, the event is also very easy to fuck with for the sake of amusement, since they’re inconsequential. (Remember, that’s true for baseball again.)

Maybe that’s why one mischief-maker on Reddit floated the idea of writing in John Bormann. Who? Good question. Bormann, a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, has played in exactly one game in the major leagues. He was called up as an emergency backup after Francisco Cervelli’s foot bothered him. Because the Florida State League’s Bradenton Marauders were the closest team affiliate to the Pirates’ April 30 road game against the Marlins, Bormann was promoted. He pinch-hit for Josh Harrison and struck out in his only at-bat; the team optioned him back to Single-A the next day.


Since Bormann technically has major-league experience for this season, would he be eligible for All-Star voting, which began on May 1, too? I asked an MLB spokesperson, who told me that for a player to be eligible for the All-Star Game, he must be on the active roster of a major-league club on the date of the last regular-season game prior to the All-Star Game.

So for Bormann, he’d only be eligible if he were on the Pirates’ 25-man roster for their game on Sunday, July 9, ahead of the July 11 All-Star Game. That’s unlikely, given the many catchers ahead of him in the system. The Reddit write-in campaign would seem out. But! If the campaign gathers legitimate momentum, the Pirates might be persuaded to call him up and let him experience the ceremonies, a la John Scott at the NHL All-Star Game.

Of course, all of this could be null if MLB merely invokes its fine print:

MLB Advanced Media, L.P. operates and certifies secure voting systems and reserves the right to disallow votes and/or disqualify voters if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that fraudulent votes have been cast or if it determines, in its sole discretion, that there has been any deliberate attempt to inappropriately manipulate or unfairly influence the result of the vote or otherwise violate the Terms of Use. Only ballots in compliance with voting rules will be validated. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball will have final decision on all balloting matters.


This gives MLB blanket power to veto any player’s election it considers a farce. Some valuable context would be the 2015 season, in which a ton of people voted in hopes of getting every Kansas City Royal to make the AL’s All-Star team. Bob Bowman, MLB’s president of business and media, claimed that the league had officially wiped out 60 million or so votes that it declared fraudulent. Omar Infante, with an OBP under .225 at the time, sadly did not make the final roster thanks to the crackdown.

One thing to note, however: This year’s All-Star Game is in Miami. If the NL finds it desperately needs a catcher, Bormann will be right nearby in Bradenton.


H/t to Michael

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