From the moment the NBA, NHL, and even the NFL opened up their 2009 All-Star Game voting to the public, folks have been trying whatever means necessary to screw with the results. Sometimes it even works!
There used to be a time when you would go to a game—in person!—grab a couple of crappy paper ballots, punch out the holes for your favorite players with the end of a soda straw, then forget to put them in the ballot box and find them under the floor mats of your car two seasons later. Now they have this thing called "the Internet" where fans can stuff virtual ballot boxes, like ... a million at a time, they can start fake campaigns to get stiffs and chumps on the rosters, and even teams and players can self-promote worse than cast members of The Hills. (Except when they're doing it wrong.)
The NHL just closed the polls on their All-Star game and announced that four of the six starters on the Eastern Conference team also play for the Montreal Canadiens. (And the other two play for the Penguins.) How did that happen to a team that currently sits in fourth place in the playoff picture? Well, the game is in Montreal, this season is the Habs 100th commemorative season, and a major push was made by the team (and the league) to get as many of the red, white and blue bastards in the lineup as possible. So brush up on your French.
Of course on the West side, the Ducks and Blackhawks got three players each, meaning that the opening shift for the NHL's premiere league-wide showcase will feature "stars" from a grand total of four teams. Vive la difference?
On the NBA front, their voting is down to the last two weeks, and sadly the campaign to get Stephon Marbury on the roster is not succeeding. However, it's probably not too late to sneak Yi Jianlian in ahead of Kevin Garnett for the second forward spot in the East. That is ... if you believe that David Stern is not a human Deibold machine just waiting to throw out the results in a private coup. Do you think the
manleague would allow a bunch of geeks and nerds—or worse, Commies—to fuck with his game?
Of course, the truly unsettling part is the active campaigning that teams, fans, and even the individual players will lower themselves to in order to secure a roster spot. Unsettling, because no one should really care this much, even as a goof. If the Redskins staff had spent as much time organizing their game plans as they did trying to screw with Pro Bowl ballots, well ... they probably wouldn't have made the playoffs anyway, because they just like to fail. Maybe they should have tried Facebook and the disaffected white boy vote, like O.J. Mayo did.
Much like presidential elections of yore, when it was thought unseemly for a nominee to campaign on his own behalf, I miss the days when players didn't humiliate themselves just for the chance at three minutes of playing time against other athletes who are obviously much, much better than they are. This year, players are even forced to lobby for a spot in the Dunk Contest, which must be like asking people to buy tickets for your next prostate exam. It's just uncomfortable for everyone.