Major League Baseball in recent years has followed the lead of other sports leagues and gone the route of having a selection show for its All-Star Game a week or so prior to the game.
Watching the selection show isn’t the most exciting way to spend an hour of a Sunday afternoon. And besides, it seems like just as much time is spent talking about who isn’t going to the game rather than who is going.
“I can’t believe Andrew McCutchen didn’t get picked.”
“How is Kevin Youkilis not on the team?”
Well, pundits got their wishes, as close to 90 players have been named All-Stars. Injuries have piled up. And a few players have just pulled out of the game for their own personal reasons.
Think about that number. That means an average of three players off every team will be considered All-Stars.
Let’s face it: With nearly 90 All-Stars, nobody is getting snubbed.
I’m not sure much can be done about it. All-Star Games are becoming a thing of the past. Some players want the bonus (albeit small compared to their annual salaries), but they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to play in these games.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been criticized for pulling out of the game due to exhaustion. And he’s not alone. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick covers a few more cases here.
But I propose a change to the post-selection show debate. Instead of discussing who got snubbed, let’s wait until game day and discuss who is an All-Star but really doesn’t need to be there.
There’s no shortage of opinions on how to fix Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Whether it means something or it doesn’t, there will always be plenty of detractors.
I’ve never been a big fan of the game meaning anything. I like the idea of it being an exhibition, not having it play a role in determining home-field advantage in the World Series.
However, let’s look at something I don’t hear much about. There’s a new rule now that doesn’t allow pitchers who threw on Sunday (the last day of the regular season before the All-Star break) to pitch in the All-Star Game. Seems reasonable. Pitching on just one day of rest is not a good thing.
But I think if this game really is going to mean something, don’t the best players HAVE to play in it. The AL doesn’t have CC Sabathia, for example, because he pitched for the New York Yankees on Sunday.
So if this is the case, why don’t they just push the All-Star Game back to Wednesday instead of Tuesday, then delay the regular season until Friday?
I realize nobody wants the season to get any longer than it already is. But there has to be a day off you could remove from everyone’s schedule somewhere.
I just think if the game is going to be "meaningful," then the best players must perform in it.
There’s been no shortage of debate regarding whether or not Stephen Strasburg should be at the MLB All-Star Game in a couple of weeks.
My answer to all of that: Absolutely he should be.
The best explanation for that is one I heard a couple of days ago (I think ESPN’s Jon Miller said it). The All-Star Game is meant to showcase the players fans want to see. That’s why it was developed. It’s a game for the fans, not the players. If it was for the players, you wouldn’t have as many no-shows as you typically do with these things.
That’s why in 1992, it was OK that Magic Johnson played in the NBA All-Star Game, even though he hadn’t played an NBA game all year. People might have griped at the time that Magic was taking the spot of a deserving player, but that moment remains one of the most memorable in the game’s history. I doubt anyone would ask for a do-over now.
And let’s face it: There’s way too many spots on the All-Star Game as is. If you’re the 32nd man on that team, there’s probably more you could have done to prevent yourself from landing on the Strasburg chopping block.
So I hope the youngster – assuming he continues to mow down hitters – makes the team. I believe he won’t, but I hope he does. He’s one of the biggest stories in baseball, and he belongs on the big stage.
With the Major League Baseball All-Star game being played in a few hours, here’s my thoughts on All-Star weekend.
- First off, last night’s Home Run Derby was way too long. Two hours just to finish the first round. I think MLB could improve the Derby to cutting it down to two rounds. The reason guys like Justin Morneau don’t want to compete is because winning the Derby takes a lot out of you. It takes a lot of swings to go through each round. And as a fan, it’s too long. And what was with all the pregame stuff? You need a concert before the Derby? It was way too long.
- I’ve always liked that every team is represented at the All-Star Game. Back in the Twins’ lean days when I was a kid, it was nice to have someone – whether it be Ron Coomer or Brad Radke – playing for Minnesota at the game. It was the highlight of the Twins’ season back then.
- I also like fan balloting. I think the fans have done a really good job this year and in recent years of putting the right players in the game. Sure, there’s a few Yankees and Red Sox. But a Minnesota Twins player is starting. A Florida Marlins player is starting. The Tampa Bay Rays are well-represented.
- Having said that, I don’t think the game should have any bearing whatsoever on the postseason. Why can’t the team with the best record determine home-field advantage in the World Series? The problem with the All-Star Game doing that is the format just doesn’t nurture a competitive game. A competitive All-Star Game with meaning should have the best players on each team, with total disregard for representing markets like Pittsburgh and Washington. But instead, managers try to get every player in the game. If you really wanted to win, would you bench the stud starters? Of course not.
So why do people think the game has to mean anything anyway? Money is obviously a big reason. Baseball and Fox think they’ll make more money if the game is "for" something.
It’s not enough, apparently, that it’s the one time each year where the best players in the game are on the field at the same time.
I think the charm of the All-Star Game is lost when postseason advantage is on the line. It should be about having fun and creating memorable moments. Remember when Alex Rodriguez told Cal Ripken to play his original position of shortstop in Ripken’s final All-Star Game? Would that happen today if you’re really trying to win? The problem is, I think it would. But that doesn’t make any sense.
Finally,Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had in one of his columns recently that the Twins are trying to land the 2014 game for Target Field. That would be pretty sweet.