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:
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
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?