What the All Star Game changes mean to me

The DH change. For the purposes of this “game”, I am fine with this move.  However, to me, it’s a major “tell” by MLB of its intentions to eventually move the NL to using the DH as well.  Time line?  Ya got me, but clearly this is coming.  Get ready, Senior Circuit. For the All Star Game, it’s a good move.  It allows teams to keep pitchers in the game while showcasing extra bats.  Great. All for it. 

The extra roster spot helps a bit, too, because it mitigates the “Mandatory Representation” rule.  Thankfully, it seems that every team, even the bad ones, have at least one player worthy, but what really chafes me and others is when someone who would otherwise be unworthy of a spot takes the spot of someone more deserving.  Adding the extra roster spot helps get rid of this potential situation.

As does the new rule about pitchers starting on the Sunday leading up to the ASG itself.  Of course, you can imagine many teams trying to slot their aces in that last game to keep them out of the ASG.  I know I can see it.  I’d almost bank it that CC will be starting that Sunday.

So let’s get to the crux of my issues around the ASG….

  • It’s high time to eliminate/fix the stupid rule that allows players who have been suspended due to PED infractions to appear in the ASG (emphasis mine). This was a primary driver behind my VFM stunt:

H. Suspensions

1. For purposes of this Section 8, a “game” shall include all championship season games, the All-Star Game and post-season games in which the Player would have been eligible to play, but shall not include spring training games. For a Player whose contract has been assigned to the Minor Leagues, a “game” shall include all Minor League regular season games for which he would have been eligible to play. A Player shall be deemed to have been eligible to play in the All-Star Game if he was elected or selected to play; the Commissioner’s Office shall not exclude a Player from eligibility for election or selection because he is suspended under the Program.

  • Also, a new rule (submitted by me, to address the issue above): Any player dinged for PEDs cannot play in an ASG within the next 12 months after the end of their suspension. That covers players who get caught in the 2nd half of a season so they can’t be selected in the following ASG.
  • The selection process: We have a very democratic and fan-friendly selection process, something that I am 100% OK with… PROVIDED THAT THE GAME IS AN EXHIBITION!  You can’t have a popularity contest and demand that the results count.  That’s a conflict.  If you want the fans to pick the starters and the last man, great.  Let the game be an exhibition, which it was until 2002 happened.  You cannot have a game that counts with a selection process that is fit for an exhibition.
  • Mandatory Representation: The 34th player added will help mitigate this gripe of mine, but it still goes to the point of having an exhibition that counts.  If it counts for something as potentially important as home field advantage in the World Series, select the best 34 (or whatever number you want) players and let them battle it out.  Mandatory representation is nice for an exhibition.  But hamstringing the managers to pick players they would have otherwise left out is silly and unfair.
  • Home Field Advantage: The mother of this whole crapfest.  The ASG is a fun, competitive exhibition in the middle of the season.  To assign this much weight to the results is patently absurd.  When the middle reliever from a non-contending team has the ability to determine who gets HFA, something’s amiss.  As you also might know, I have a simple mantra that states “if you are going to complain about something, be prepared to offer a solution“.  Here’s my solution (which isn’t perfect, but I think it’s better than the current situation):
    • Revert the game to an exhibition. If it ends in a tie after 12 innings, it ends it a tie.  Just cap the game at 12 innings and play to win.
    • Since HFA needs to be determined in advance (for planning purposes), the league who “wins” the Interleague tally gets to host the World Series.  This keeps Selig’s pet (Interleague) relevant, no matter what my feelings are on that front.  And if there’s a tie, the league who hosted it the prior year gets to host it again.  In other words, Winner’s Out (if you remember playing schoolyard hoops). Yes, there will be many who are already crying that “the AL is better than the NL“, but tough noogies.  (It’s STILL better than having an exhibition determining the HFA.)  Well, that’s true, as evidenced by the data below:

Wins by league

Year Best Record American

League

National

League

1997 National 97 117
1998 American 114 110
1999 National 116 135
2000 American 136 115
2001 American 132 120
2002 National 123 129
2003 National 115 137
2004 American 126 125
2005 American 136 116
2006 American 154 98
2007 American 137 115
2008 American 149 103
2009 American 138 114
Overall American 1,674 1,534

So, what are your thoughts?  Are you OK with the ASG remaining in constant flux, adjusting with the winds, yet remaining something that determines HFA?  Or do you want an exhibition?

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

7 thoughts on “What the All Star Game changes mean to me

  1. Jason@IIATMS

    Artificially creating a reason to watch doesn't sit well with me….

    I was happy to watch it regardless.

  2. Jason, I'm glad you're a big ASG fan.  But for whatever reason, people perceive a problem with the modern ASG.  They tell stories about the old days, about how the ASG used to be a blood feud, while the modern ASG is more of an extended vacation interrupted by a few innings of uninspired play.  I don't know. 

    To the extent that I care about the ASG, it's primarily because the game IS a friendly game.  It's baseball's equivalent of the softball game following the annual company picnic.  But you and I are clearly in the minority.

  3. HIM

    HIM wants to see the fire of Rose running over Fosse every year…give ALL picks back to the players and managers, 50/50 except for the last player picked by the public.   Lets get the best into the game…

  4. Jason, my young friend.  Have you forgotten WHY the All Star game determines HFA?  It is because baseball wanted to have an All Star game that MATTERED.  You know, like when Pete Rose slammed into Ray Fosse in 1970, permanently injuring Fosse’s shoulder, all to win an exhibition game.  Those were the days.

    I’m a Yankees fan, which gives me a legitimate rooting interest in most baseball post-seasons, but even I could not care less in July about which league has World Series home field advantage.

  5. MarkH

    Until the ASG managers stop treating it like an exhibition — meaning, trying their best to get everyone on the roster into the game — then why should I or anyone else take it seriously? I used to care, back in the day (I remember being *very* upset when Guidry coughed it up in 1979; yes a Red Sox fan was upset when Ron Guidry did something bad the year after 1978; that's how much the ASG mattered when I was 13), but since there is no effort by the guys calling the plays to treat it like a real game, then there's no reason for me to make an effort to care.

  6. Chris

    I can't say I care that much about the baseball ASG, but it's definitely the only ASG I even consider watching.  I watch because it's on, and all the good players are there (more or less).  And I watch because I want my kids to see it.  I don't watch because it "means" something.

    What I'd like to see is an old-timer's all-star game.  Bring back the stars of the past for a 4-5 inning game as part of the festivities.

  7. If it "counts," it should be played like a real baseball game.  Give them 25 or maybe 27-man rosters, let the general manager of the previous season's World Series representative pick the players, allow the starters to throw 90 or so pitches (assuming things go well), and leave guys like Pujols on the field for the whole game.  I would actually care about a game like that.  Being an "All-Star" might actually mean something.

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