Monday, July 12, 2010

The MLB All-Star Game and Why it Is Bad

The Major League Baseball All-Star game might be one of the worst run and messed up all-star games in any of the major sports. If you can’t tell already I am not a huge fan of the MLB’s version of the summer classic. It is poorly put together and really just can’t figure out if it wants to be an exhibition of the games best players at the half way point or if they want it to mean something. I have a lot of thoughts and lucky for you all I will be sharing some of those fine points with you here in this post. Enjoy.

1) MLB needs to scrap the idea of making this for home field advantage
This might be one of the worst things about the all-star game. The winner of an exhibition game is going to get home field advantage in the World Series. So, to put this in some simpler terms it means that the biggest games of the year will be decided largely by players that will come nowhere near of even sniffing the playoffs. That makes perfect sense to me. If I were the Cardinals I would want to have the Nationals and Pirates playing for their home field advantage in an exhibition game. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays could win the AL with 110 wins but have to play on the road in the World Series to a 84-78 St. Louis Cardinals team that wins the NL because the American League won the all-star game. Does that sound like it’s right? I don’t.

2) The fan voting needs to go.
I know this is a big part of the all-star game to get the fans into it, but it turns into a huge cluster mess that usually puts players on the field, in starting rolls, that don’t deserve to be on the team. Take Ken Griffey Jr. One of the best to play the game, but he had no business being in the running to start an all-star game this year. Basically it is all up to a fan vote for who gets in. Fans will take 100 ballots and put Griffey’s name on it just to get him to the game even know he isn’t even playing this year. Yea, that seems like what the all-star game is about. Popularity. Good. That sounds like a great way to showcase the best talent during the first half of the year. God forbid you were playing third base in the American League and had better numbers than A-Rod. You know what you chances of starting in an all-star game is? Zero. Unless you are a Sox’s or Yankee’s player in the AL you basically have to hit .400 or blast 50 home runs in the first half of a season to even sniff a starting spot on that American League all-star roster. Is that what an all-star game is all about? Popularity?

3) Having one player from each team is a bad idea
The reason that a player from each team is on the all-star game is from a TV standpoint. MLB wants to have the most market share as possible for their games, and the all-star game is no different. They want to reach the most households and therefore make the most money for their company. This is a major decision to make the rule that every team must have a rep in the game. If there isn’t a KC Royals player or a Pittsburgh Pirate then the networks in those cities would not tune into the game. So put a Pirate and Royal in the game and BAM those audiences are watching the game. I don’t buy it. Casual fans tune in to watch the home run derby and the celebrity softball game, not the baseball game. That will not change. People that like to watch baseball will tune in to watch no matter who is in the game or if they have a player on their favorite team. As I talked about before is it fair that a Royals representative is up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Rays or Angels home field advantage is riding on it. I am pretty sure it is not sweet. This every team BS needs to go. The all-star game is an exhibition of the best players in the game so that is who should be in the all-star game. If a team doesn’t have a player that is worthy of being on the team then why should be in the game? Are we in little league again? Do we need to have make every GM feel good about themselves because they have an all-star player? In my opinion it diminishes what it means to be an all-star. As a player if you get picked to be an all-star you are said to be the best of the best in the game. When you start to bring people in to the game that doesn’t deserve to be there then it does not make it as noteworthy. Maybe it is just a me thing but when I watch an “all-star game” I want to see the best players at that time in the game.

4) Managers picking the fill in’s
This is kind of low on my list, but is also a problem with the all-star game. It has been openly talked about this year that Charlie Manuel was picking players to fill out the roster. He picked Ryan Howard to the all-star team rather than putting a more deserving player in Joey Votto in the game. Votto is top five in every triple crown category but is not found on the all-star roster because good ole Chuck wants his own player on the game. Some “all-star” game. There is also the issue of those managers being able to make informed decisions on who should be in the game. With all that goes into the game today, such as playing every day, how is a manager supposed to pick a team when he only might play them three times? Hence why Omar Infante might be in the game. Charlie Manuel saw him play a few times, he had a couple good games and what the hell, he’s in. Does it matter that Infante doesn’t have enough at bats to qualify any of his statistics? I guess it doesn’t matter.

What would a better solution to this problem be? Make it a broader selection process. Let the players AND managers select and if you so choose let a few media members get in there. Not all of them, just a random sampling. Make it so that the managers and players can’t vote for their own players so you have a better outlook for the team. I think this is a lot better than just letting one person pick the reserves for the all-star team. Don’t you think? If you are going to let the fans decide the starters then make a better process for picking the reserves. This would give a better chance of getting the right players in the game. Sure there are going to be snubs still, there always will be, but there is a better chance of that smoothing out with this plan, I think.

I could go on with this for a long time. These are the main points that I don't like and would like to see changed in the all-star game. What do you think? Agree, disagree? Leave it in the comments.

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