With major league teams ready to shut down for the all star break the age old debate is ready to return from hibernation. Should the All-Star game’s outcome have any significance other than bragging rights? And if we persist to give it significance should the farce that is fan voting continue? We should also ask the question is there a fair way to select the teams, as even manager selection can be a puzzler, just look at Jason Varitek’s inclusion this year, I’m not sure what says ‘I’m not a all-star’ more, the .220 batting average that he currently holds or his .300 OBP , but the saying ‘it’s good to have friends in high places’ comes to mind. Hi Mr Francona!
I’m not here to filter through the rosters, the names of players that shouldn’t be there, because I don’t think that I have to, everyone knows who should and should not be there, everyone knows that this is a popularity vote more than anything, and everyone knows that the smaller your teams fan base is the less chance you have of making it to the heights of the mid summer classic.
This years all star game is a little bit more special due to its venue, Yankee stadium will say goodbye to baseball after this season as the New York Yankees head to there new stadium, the first game played at Yankee stadium was all the way back in 1923 and has seen some of the best players grace its field including Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig and that’s to name a few. For this reason alone the All-Star game will be worth watching.
We are at a stage where soon enough being elected to start in 5-10 all star games will have no carry, to be elected a all star is supposed to mean something, it is supposed to mean that you excelled at your position above anyone else in the league, and you could put a all star selection proudly on your resume. Now it means very little, it means that you are a popular player, not a good one, and maybe for some people that’s enough, for me it’s a scar on baseball.
Even if I am able to look past the fact that fans vote, I find it hard to look past the need for any person holding a email address to be allowed to vote 25 times. I really don’t see the point, I racked my brain trying to conjure up a reason, the thought behind this concept of 25 time voting and all I could think of was that MLB officials who decided upon this were trying to avoid hard decisions. If there is a close race and someone can not decide who to vote in, they have another ballot so they can choose both. Although now I see this as very unlikely, it just gives fans favourites more room to gain selection.
I say go back to the years between 1936-45 where the manager selects the whole team. Although like I pointed out earlier this is not fool proof . Or even better revert the AS game to what it should be, and do as MLB’s brother organizations in the US do and make it a exhibition of talent, a show case, something for enjoyment and pleasure and not for influence.
Home field advantage shouldn’t be decided by a exhibition game, we could go back to how it was before 2003 and rotate home field advantage from league to league, year by year. We could give home field advantage to the team that had the best regular season record, this would be my preferred choice, it gives extra incentive to play to the last game.
I can’t put a complete downspin on the AS game, I enjoy it as much as the next guy, I enjoyed watching Ichiro hit a inside the park HR last season, the first ever seen in a AS game. I enjoy watching the HR derby and the fun that both sets of teams seem to be having. I even enjoy the short breaks that it brings to baseball to allow teams to get there roster together, however I will never enjoy the significance hoisted onto the shoulders of the mid-summer classic.