By Chris Emma–

CHICAGO (CBS) — Once the crown jewel for America’s greatest pastime, there’s a lack of luster to baseball’s All-Star Game.

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Each Midsummer Classic brings excitement for the heroes of the game meeting under one spotlight, but there’s a sense of fabrication to it. A combination of Bud Selig’s silly decision to make the glamorous exhibition decide home-field advantage for the World Series and how fan voting fails to reward the game’s true greats is bad form.

Baseball’s All-Star players are often voted by popularity or many variables that don’t acknowledge the game’s new age. The game doesn’t necessarily recognize players who truly make a difference for their teams.

Which is perhaps why this 2016 All-Star Game needs 39-year-old Cubs catcher David Ross.

“It would be kind of cool to see,” said Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, a longtime teammate and friend of Ross. “I know it would be something he’d definitely really appreciate.”

On Thursday morning, Lester took to Twitter encouraging fans to vote for Ross as a write-in. What would become quite the feel-good story for the All-Star Game has actual merit. There’s a case to be made for Ross as an All-Star.

Of course it’s a longshot, and rightfully so, because backup catchers don’t often make All-Star teams. Ross has just four homers — and exactly 100 on his 15-year career — and 17 RBIs while hitting .250 in 28 games, which is 24 appearances fewer than the leader in NL catcher voting, the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina.

However, Ross has a 1.1 WAR on Fangraphs in those 28 games, a mark ahead of Molina and just 0.1 shy of the second-place Buster Posey of the Giants. Despite playing sparingly, Ross ranks among the best catchers in baseball based on wins above replacement.

The 15-year veteran Ross leads the NL with 5.9 defensive runs above average, according to Fangraphs, with that coming in 219 1/3 innings. By comparison, the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy is second with a 4.2 mark in 377 1/3 innings.

Ross has a 1.0 defensive WAR, which isn’t only top for a NL catcher but also tied for sixth in all of baseball — at any position, in far fewer games. Ross is atop the NL with eight defensive runs saved and boasts the second-best NL catcher’s ERA with a 2.07 mark in 24 starts. That’s no coincidence.

“It’s just his preparation more than anything,” Lester said. “That stuff kind of goes under-appreciated in the game, as far as those guys being prepared back there, having a good game plan that they take out there to the pitcher.

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“We go over it, we all have meetings, that kind of stuff. Sometimes, it’s difficult to actually go out there and repeat what you already talked about, in the heat of the moment. He does such a good job of that.”

Lester made the case for “Grandpa Rossy” on Twitter with the hopes of creating a movement for somebody who has become a great companion. Instantly, it generated excitement. Cubs fans embraced the idea of Ross getting his shot.

Baseball fans would enjoy to see a likable veteran like Ross exit his final year of baseball with his first All-Star Game appearance. It would be something America could celebrate watching its Midsummer Classic, but Ross also truly makes an All-Star difference for the Cubs.

Before each start, Ross creates his own scouting reports with extensive video breakdown, then confirms it with the Cubs’ scouting notes. A potential candidate to become a major league manager once he retires, Ross is ahead of the curve, already working for each game as if he’s a skipper.

Those stellar defensive numbers Ross has recorded in each game aren’t a fluke. He goes out and earns it. Ross’ work in film study is incredibly detailed — breaking down every detail to get an edge.

“David puts a heck of a lot of time into his craft,” Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said on the Mully & Hanley Show, “which makes it even more special for me, to see a guy that’s putting in that kind of time reap the benefits.

“Rossy takes this thing to heart, as much as any catcher I’ve ever seen.”

Ross seems dead set on retirement after 2016, despite teammates jabbing for one more year. The Cubs know they’ll miss Ross when he’s out of their clubhouse — and that he will make a great manager when his time comes.

All-Star votes aren’t earned with defensive metrics, detailed scouting reports or long hours in film study, but baseball games are won that way. The Cubs have the best record in baseball at 37-15, and Ross has played an important part to their success. It’s unlikely that Ross will receive the recognition for his work, but he’s certainly deserving.

For all the fun and all the stories of this 2016 season, Ross has become a focal point to the Cubs in their clubhouse. They truly cherish their moments with him.

The Cubs want Ross to get his chance in the All-Star Game. They know he’s worked for it.

“There are a lot of intangibles there that make him who he is,” Lester said. “That make him special.”

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Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.