As you may or may not know, next Tuesday July 10 is the MLB All-Star Game, a.k.a. the “Midsummer Classic.” Since many of you may not be familiar with the All-Star Game or even how the teams are chosen, I thought that would be a great topic for this week.
The MLB All-Star game is the halfway point of the MLB season (although it’s not always exactly halfway through the season). Currently, teams get 4 days off as a “break” in the middle of the season (usually the 2nd week of July) and the All-Star game is played on the Tuesday during that break. The major significance of the game is that the winner (AL or NL) gets home field advantage during the World Series. This “reward” began in 2003 and has been controversial ever since.
The location of the game is chosen several years in advance (this year the game is in Kansas City) and goes back and forth between an NL park and an AL park each year.
The managers of each All-Star team are the managers of the NL and AL teams that met in the World Series the year prior. Since the Cardinals and the Rangers were in the World Series in 2011, Tony La Russa and Ron Washington will be the managers this year. Each manager then gets to pick his coaching staff for the game (often being managers from other teams in his league, but sometimes he’ll take his own coaching staff).
Currently, the starting lineup (8 NL players and 9 AL players) for each team is chosen via fan votes. Fans have the opportunity to vote either online or at games. This method of choosing the teams is quite controversial among fans since often the best players at the time aren’t always chosen since they aren’t always the best known to the average or casual fan. And in many cases, a player might be chosen who has even been injured most of the year. Usually, the teams with the biggest fanbases will end up having the most players selected. You can find the rosters for All-Star teams for this year’s game here.
Players also have the opportunity to vote for 8 pitchers for their team (5 starters and 8 relievers) along with a bench player. The manager then chooses the remaining bench players (9 NL players and 8 AL players) for their team. If there is an MLB team that does not have a representative on the All-Star team, one will be chosen at this point.
Finally, to finish out the roster, the fans get a final vote to pick the last player for each team. Voting begins after the All-Star teams are selected. Fans are given 5 players to choose from which were chosen by the All-Star teams’ managers and the Commissioner’s Office. Voting for this year’s final vote has already started and continues until Thursday. (Go here to cast your vote!)
The National League team has won the past 2 meetings and 43 of the 83 games overall. However, since 1988, the AL has been the most dominate, winning 18 of 23 with 1 tie.
Surrounding the All-Star game, there are several other events: Home Run Derby, All-Star Futures Game (a team of minor league players from the U.S. and another team of minor league players from other countries), All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game (former players versus celebrities) and ESPY Awards (which is the day following the All-Star Game since most North American pro sports leagues don’t have games).
For more on the history of the MLB All-Star Game, go here. Be sure to watch this year’s game on FOX on Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. CT!
If you have a baseball-related question or topic you’d like to see discussed or explained here, please shoot me an email at LorInBigD@gmail.com or tweet at me @LorInBigD.