Modest Proposals to Improve the MLB All Star Game

Ever since that infamous Milwaukee night in 2002 when the midsummer classic ended in a tie, fans, sportswriters and casual observers alike have viewed the MLB All-Star Game with an intense level of scrutiny. That showcase, which ended in after 11 innings with neither team carrying the crown of victor, prompted then-commissioner Bud Selig to enact a rule making the All Star Game “count” for World Series home field for the victorious league. The idea was to incentivize winning the game, but has made a lot of people very angry and is widely regarded as a bad move.  Everyone dreams of playing commissioner for a day (my first act would be to ban the DH, an argument for another day) and there are more than a few changes the baseball community may embrace to improve upon both the All-Star Game and even some of the festivities surrounding it.

To get it out of the way first, the simplest solution is to revert the matchup back to not counting or affecting the regular season and playoffs in anyway. Bob Ryan sums it up best in his piece from last year, pointing out very rightly that a glorified showcase should not have major implications on baseball’s hallowed postseason. The MLB All-Star game truly used to mean something, but it’s been some time since it lost its luster. With the expansion of interleague play, there’s no longer a fascination to see the league’s best square off against each other. Along the same lines the team rosters’ expansion over the years from 18 in the first All-Star Game in 1933 to 34 players today has watered down the level of “specialness” surrounding the event. Then, there are even stories of players deliberately rejecting Selig’s manufactured “integrity” of the match a la Adam Wainwright in 2014.

Look MLB, just start calling this what it is- a showcase. Without the absurdity of “This One Counts”, the league could blow up ASG weekend into whatever monstrosity it desires. Continue to expand fan voting and interaction. In fact, if it means nothing, one could completely remove manager selections entirely with no negative consequence. The MLB even already has rules allowing All-Star pitchers to skip pitching the game if they start the day before the All-Star break; players and teams are never, ever, ever going to prioritize the ASG over the regular season, especially those with postseason aspirations. Just let it go Commissioner Manfred. Please.

Sadly the MLB community can be stubborn one (seriously, just look at controversies surrounding unanimous Hall of Fame voting) and change might be hard to enact. So it’s best to stick with the premise that the World Series advantage rule is not going to be amended anytime in the near future.  Still, there are more than a few changes that could bring the sexy back to the All Star Game:

Remove the team representation rule:

 

Please visit our full site to continue reading about a few suggestions to improve the MLB All Star Game.  You can also follow us on the Twitter @OTB_Baseball

About OffTheBenchBaseball

A (Mostly) Baseball Blog

Posted on June 20, 2016, in MLB Reports. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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