I spent the earlier part of the week participating in All Star game activities, on location in Anaheim California. I checked out the Fan Fest on Sunday, the Home Run Derby on Monday, and the game itself on Tuesday. I fully enjoyed all of it, but I do have one VERY controversial opinion to share with you:
There is nothing wrong with the MLB All Star game.
It seems like all anyone talks about is what needs to change about the All Star game. But it's fine the way it is. In comparisons with the other 3 major sports, it easily trumps the Pro Bowl. The MLB game is much more like real baseball whereas the NBA all star game is very little like real basketball (albeit basketball might have the better scene in the weekend surrounding the game). Hockey might be the closest contender as far as the game goes, but I haven't watched enough hockey to make an argument here.
Here are the typical complaints about the MLB All Star game:
- The selection system leads to good players getting snubbed. This year, they added a ton of spots on the rosters, and people were still complaining about this. It is time to admit that no system will eliminate this, unless of course we let Jayson Stark pick the teams, in which case at least the loudest complainer would shut up. But seriously, think about it, the fans vote for the starters and they (we) screw it up constantly. The players get a vote now, and they often screw it up. And of course, the managers selections are just as questionable (Omar Infante, anyone?). I don't think there is some method that will solve this problem.
Some choose to blame it on the fact that every team gets a representative. I personally like the rule the way it is - because I remember what it was like to be a fan of a terrible team who only got an all star because of this rule. Moreover, if we can't get the rosters right after they've expanded to 34, we'll never get them right.
- The game doesn't mean enough. To this group, I admit, the World Series homefield advantage rule is a ruse. It hasn't actually changed the way that the game is played, simply the way it is perceived. My only response is - it's an exhibition, what do you expect? The great thing about the baseball all star game is that these players don't need any practice together to still play at a high level, so it's really up to the players to decide how much they care about this game. As you'd expect, some come ready to play and some don't.
If you think about Tuesday's game, I didn't see much to indicate that the managers or players were not trying to win. Sure, Girardi mismanaged on the AL side, but that's just because he's not a very good manager. He brought in his own guy Hughes, who lost it for us. He didn't bring in A-Rod, but the fact is that A-Rod was a debatable all star to begin with. He didn't pinch run for Ortiz, because, well, he had already mismanaged himself into a hole there.
- The World series homefield advantage rule is stupid. I agree, but get over it, Selig is obsessed with it and it doesn't negatively affect the All Star game. Some might say it negatively affects the World Series, but I don't agree with that either. Previously, the MLB just alternated between leagues, which wasn't any better.
Otherwise, get over it and leave it alone.