Unbelievably, this will be the 12th consecutive year that baseball’s midsummer classic, The All-Star Game, will determine home-field advantage in baseball’s fall classic, The World Series.
This all started after the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie. With the game tied at 7 after 11 innings, both teams ran out of pitchers. Commissioner Bud Selig had no choice but to rule the game a tie. The game was being played in Selig’s hometown of Milwaukee, which I believe added to his overreaction and ultimate decision to ensure this didn’t happen again.
For many, the tie was seen as an embarrassment to baseball. What was embarrassing was that baseball was unprepared for such a scenario. Had the possibility that teams could run out of pitchers never crossed anyone’s mind?
How do you encourage the managers to play as many players as possible, do everything possible to try to win the game, and at the same time tell them to save a few pitchers should the game go extra innings? Then, as a “solution” to add more “importance” to the game, decide that the winning league will get home-field advantage in October?
Here are five reasons why that makes absolutely no sense.
1. It’s an Exhibition Game!
The mere definition of exhibition should imply that it doesn’t matter who wins. It’s a display of the game’s best players. Pitchers facing hitters they would never otherwise face. A “murderer’s row” lineup that you could only dream would be your favorite team’s lineup. It’s a showcase. That should be enough.
2. It’s the Game’s Most “Popular” Players
Fans vote for the starters. That’s exactly the way it should be. That means Derek Jeter gets to start at shortstop for the American League in his final season. As he should, regardless of his stats this season. The final All-Star games for Cal Ripken Jr. and Mariano Rivera were two of the most memorable. My bet is Jeter’s final game will be the same.
3. Every Player Should Get into the Game
To settle another debate, I do like baseball’s rule that every team is represented in the game. It’s a game for the fans. That’s why the fans vote. And that’s why every fan should get to see at least one player from his favorite team play.
4. Figure Out Another Way to Increase TV Ratings
Is the goal to make it a more important game to the players and managers, as if they weren’t giving it their best effort to win? Or is the goal to increase TV ratings? Maybe the problem is that baseball is not as popular as it used to be. Figure out a way to match the excitement of the late 90’s, by increasing home runs, without the assistance of steroids. Lower the mound. Move in the fences. Chicks dig the long ball. More home runs equal higher ratings.
5. It’s an Exhibition Game!
Oh, I already said that. Okay, so it’s really four reasons. You can’t have an exhibition game, with the fans voting for the starters and the managers attempting to get every player in the game, and simultaneously say, the outcome matters. Ridiculous.