I realize that, as a baseball blogger, I’m really out on the limb on this one. So gird your loins, sit down, or do whatever you need to do before the next sentence. Ready? I love that the All-Star Game determines who gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
I know, I know. This is not the opinion of most (all?) people who write about baseball. But, call me crazy, I love the idea that the Midsummer Classic actually MEANS something. I don’t want to watch the baseball version of the NBA All-Star Game. which is made up of eight parts showboating and two parts no defense. Or, worse yet, the Pro Bowl (have you ever watched the Pro Bowl? Brutal).
I love the game of baseball, and watching the best players in any given year play against each other is something that appeals to me. And few remember that, before the ASG determined home-field advantage in the World Series, the leagues just took turns alternating home field advantage back and forth. Snooze fest.
That said, the All-Star Game isn’t perfect. We still see players who have no business being in the game hustled out there. The managers still want everyone to get a chance to play. No one ever throws at anyone. As it stands right now, the Home Run Derby is more exciting than that ASG itself.But it has the potential to be really, really good.
- Eliminate the “every team gets one player representative” rule. If this is truly an All-Star game, pick the best 30 guys in baseball and let’s go. No one cares if their team has a representative. Really. They don’t. There were years when the Cubs were so bad, it actually made me angry that they had an All-Star representative. Fans shouldn’t have to suspend belief to root for a player in the ASG.
- Don’t let the fans pick the starting lineup: Ninety percent of the people who vote for the starting lineup have no idea who they are voting for. Sure, they get emails from their teams telling them “vote for these 5 guys!” (no matter what kind of a season said 5 players are having), or they vote for their favorite player because they like how he looks in tight pants or whatever. Stop it. Let the managers pick the starting lineups. Fans can vote on something else, like what color the uniforms are going to be or whether or not Chris Berman is allowed to talk. Heck, let the fans vote on who gets to be in the Homerun Derby, but don’t let them anywhere near the game itself.
- Switch up the managers: Stop choosing the guys who won each league last year to manage the teams. This is how we wind up with retired or fired managers in the ASG. Instead, let the managers of the teams with the best record in each league at the break have the job. Those are the guys who really have something to play for, and they’re far less likely to adhere to the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality that currently pervade the All- Star Game.
Three changes (and small changes) that would result in the best All-Star Game of the big four pro sports (the NHL probably has the best ASG going, currently). An All-Star Game where the best of the best actually compete against each other for something that matters. That’s an All-Star Game worth of its name.