Varsity Extra Blog

What’s the point of an all-state baseball team when everyone is from Boise?

Rocky Mountain junior left-hander Ethan Christianson was named the USA Today Idaho Baseball Player of the Year.
Rocky Mountain junior left-hander Ethan Christianson was named the USA Today Idaho Baseball Player of the Year. kjones@idahostatesman.com

USA Today released its annual all-state baseball team Wednesday, and once again, it has a decidedly Boise feel to it.

Of the 22 first- and second-team selections, 21 hail from the Treasure Valley, including the player of the year — Rocky Mountain pitcher Ethan Christianson. The coach of the year — Rocky Mountain’s Joe Santa Maria — also hails from the greater Boise area.

You can see the full all-state selections here.

Obviously, the Treasure Valley hosts a large portion of the state’s population, including 12 of the state’s 21 5A baseball programs. Idaho is home to 92 baseball-playing schools, 34 from the Treasure Valley, so any all-state team slants toward the Boise area.

This is not a dig on any player selected. Few could argue with the selections of Christianson and Santa Maria.

But an all-state team with one token selection from Lewiston isn’t an all-state team. It’s an all-Boise team.

I’m well aware of the work it takes to put together an all-state team. The Idaho Statesman compiles the All-Idaho football and boys and girls basketball teams each year, having every coach in the state nominate players, and then polling each coach on those nominations.

It’s a labor- and time-intensive process. You can quibble with any selection. (That’s half the point of these all-state teams.) But I’d put the results of those teams up against anyone else’s selections.

Perhaps USA Today nailed the selections. But it doesn’t post how it selects its teams, and the distorted representation isn’t a new problem. In the past three years, 56 of its 66 all-state selections came from the Treasure Valley.

Unfortunately, the lack of interest in baseball prevents the Idaho Statesman from compiling its own all-state teams. But I’d rather not have one than release horribly skewed selections like these.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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