For the second straight time, I must go voice my thoughts on what is wrong with the All Star game. According to ESPN, this years All Star game got the lowest ratings ever for the Mid Summer Classic, beating out last years game. One reason that may have happened, is because the game has run the course, and has lost the excitement. No one really cares about the game anymore, and things are made worse by adding the ridiculous stipulation of the winning league gets home field advantage for the World Series. If you read the blog I posted yesterday, you saw my ideas on how you can fix the game if you insist on making the blasted thing count for something. However, with the ratings coming out today, I believe the obvious fact is that the game no longer is capable of holding the fans attention. This is why, they should completely change the game to bring some excitement back in what was once the most anticipated exhibition game in sports.
One way to bring some excitement back into the All Star game, is to ditch the American League verse the National League stipulation. Instead, take the team that wins the World Series and have them face off against the All Stars of the Major League. This year, for instance, we would have seen the New York Yankees verse the best players the other 29 teams have to offer. Let’s see if the reigning World Series Champions are the best team out there. Face off with the best players the other teams have and prove that you are deserving of the Championship.
While this idea is unconventional, making a change like this might do enough to peek the interest of the baseball fans. Think about all the possibilities a move like this could bring. Division rivals you beat out wanting to get revenge. The other playoff teams who fell short of their goal, wanting to prove that they should have been in the World Series. The possibilities are endless with how the excitement could return by changing the game to this format.
You don’t like that idea? That’s fine, because there are plenty of others which could help liven up the game. How about stealing a concept from the Minor Leagues, USA verse the World! Yes, we see a playoff like series which would fit this mold every four years, and the USA doesn’t fare too well. However, with this set up, the teams would be limited to the Major Leaguers, and you wouldn’t see anyone you didn’t know in this game. Team USA might still get their butts kicked year in and year out, but doesn’t the National League usually lose every year as well? While this change may not bring excitement back to the Mid Season Classic, the change might be enough to at least bring some fans back to the game, though not likely for too long as most baseball fans hate the World Baseball Classic.
Or, if you must keep the traditional American League verse National League set up, ditch inter-league play. The All Star game used to be exciting, because you never used to see the great players from a National League team face off against an American League team. Now, you see this several times a year. There is nothing new about the concept. All you get, is another inter-league game. After seeing several series with the two leagues facing off, you lose interest in watching another solo game which is essentially pointless. There are no more rivalries between the leagues, and the days of seeing a Pete Rose barrel over Ray Fossi to win the All Star game. There is no intensity anymore in the game.
Unless things change before next years All Star game, the Mid Summer Classic is going to turn into just another exhibition game which no one cares about. Oh wait, never mind. That is already the case.
With today being the 81st All Star game, I decided to write one of my very few blogs which is not centered directly on the Chicago Cubs. While I do not speak for everyone, I do have my own opinion on the Mid Summer Classic, as I am sure everyone else does as well. Some people love the game, because of the history involved or because they are given the chance to see some of the greatest players in baseball all on the same stage. Others dislike the game for a number of reasons, one of which is because now the outcome is important. This, is exactly why I dislike the All Star game. In my own opinion, there are many different ways Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig could do, in order to once again bring excitement back to what was once a treasured part of the baseball season.
First things first, you must take away any and all importance to this game. Do not allow the outcome of this game to determine which league gets the much desired home field advantage for the World Series. Allowing a game, which consists of players from every team to determine the best team in the leagues fate is a complete joke. Look at the 2008 All Star game for example, when a player for a non contending team cost the National League champion home field advantage. The second basemen in the All Star game, Dan Uggla had the worst game in baseball history, committing three errors while going 0-4 at the plate leaving six men on base; three of his outs were strike outs. However, the future World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies would not need home field advantage to win the crown. One team should not be punished for the failures of the players on the other teams. No, I am not saying this is a bad idea because the American League has won every All Star game for the past 13 years. That has nothing to do with this at all.
If the game is going to count, then there are several things which must be done.
First, eliminate the need for every team to be represented at the game. While every team usually has at least one stud player, and while every fan would want to see at least one player from their team make the club, allowing a first place team’s fate to be determined by a last place clubs player is ridiculous. There are always players snubbed because every team must be represented. Do you think the New York Yankees are happy that there is a Baltimore Orioles that could likely decide their teams fate? Or the Atlanta Braves depending on a Pittsburgh Pirate to help them secure home field advantage?
Secondly, in order to prove that the game counts, is by taking the game out of the fans hands completely. Allowing the fans to vote, turns the game into nothing more than a popularity contest. Instead of the fans having the vote, give each teams manager (who should remain the two World Series Managers) select the players themselves. Cut the roster down to the traditional 25 man roster, or even better a 21 man roster. Treat the All Star Game like a real game. Each manager selects one starting pitcher, the one you have the most confidence in and then build your six or seven man bullpen around him to give yourself the best pitching staff possible.
In terms of the position players, the managers should select the best players at each position and then build a bench you can depend on to help your league win the game. Give yourself proper backups that will be there to fill in if needed or give you a good bat off the bench if you need to pinch hit for the pitcher.
Treat the game like a real game, especially if the Mid Summer Classic is supposed to count. Seriously, who takes out a starting pitcher after only three innings if he is dominating? Who pinch hits for one of the best players in baseball history, Albert Pujols, after an at bat or two because they want to get someone else into the game? If you want to win, you leave your best players in the game as long as you are able to do so. Stop treating the game like a meaningless event if the outcome determines something as serious as home field advantage in the World Series. Make the game count by treating the game like a real game.
This would likely never happen, as I am sure teams would be against allowing their pitchers to pitch as many as nine innings in a game that is outside of team control. That is one of the few drawbacks to this idea. Personally, I hate the idea of one of my team’s pitchers pitching in a game that wont help my team make the playoffs, and I am sure team managers and owners feel somewhat the same way. However, making these changes would show the baseball fans that the game they claim counts, actually does.