The All Star Game selection process: I don’t care anymore

Suddenly, the game “had” to have meaning because –gasp!– the exhibition ended in a tie. Was it the end of the world that the managers tried to use everybody they could to give every player their All Star Game experience? No, of course not.

The world didn’t end in 1961 when the game ended in a tie (due to rain). Last I checked, it was a pretty good year for baseball in 1961, tie or no tie.

Yet, the Commish was thoroughly embarrassed in his backyard and gosh-darnit, that was too much for him to handle. So he changed the rules to “provide incentive” to these guys.

Awful, awful decision. Why? Glad you asked. [To save some retyping laziness on my part, this is mostly lifted from last year’s edition of my All Star Game rant]

  • 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 should be 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, I’m told), 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 in the ASG, the league who hosted the World Series the prior year gets to host it again.  In other words,Winner’s Out (if you remember playing schoolyard hoops). Not perfect, but it’s STILL better than having an exhibition determining the HFA.

That’s been my stance, pretty much, since I started this site years ago. The game and those playing truly mattered to me. Except now it doesn’t. It’s just a fun event that I won’t get worked up about any more. Those getting worked up about the snubs can be found here:

Does Derek Jeter deserve to be the starting SS in the AL? Well, no if you’re only looking at stats, but the fans vote so that’s good by me. And this has nothing, zero, nada, zilch to do with Jeter personally. I like the fans having a say, even if we’re often wrong. We want the most popular guys, it seems. Or just that the major markets drive the greatest number of votes. Boo-freakin’-hoo.  Been happening since, well, ever. Time to get over it. Jhonny Peralta deserves to be starting at shortstop for the AL, numbers-wise, but the voting public doesn’t care enough about Peralta to vote him in over Jeter.

I’d rather see CC Sabathia and David Robertson get voted in over Jeter, personally. I know they have numbers more representative of all stars than Jeter’s numbers.

And certainly the absence of Andrew McCutchen in the NL is an absolute shame. Guess what, Pirates fans? Get on your front office PR/Marketing staff for not having a better “Vote for McCutch” plan of action. Snubs happen. You can scream and cry and yell and rant all you want. I’m not listening any longer. I’ve tried. I’ve cared. I’ve been right with you at times. No longer.

Snubs are very much part of the selection process in any league, any all star voting process. The system isn’t perfect because the selection process has no logical connection to the game value whatsoever. If you want a game that counts, figure out a way to change ALL of the selection rules to fit that end. Don’t keep adding rules to the existing, exhibition-style rules. That’s silly.

And no, I don’t care about the roster selection anymore . Not coincidentally, it’s quite liberating. I’ll just enjoy watching the game.

*

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

7 thoughts on “The All Star Game selection process: I don’t care anymore

  1. LarryAtIIATMS

    A convert! Welcome, brother. Take a seat in the front row, plenty of seats to choose from. I'm sure many will be joining us here soon … any time now. You bet. The others are probably just held up in traffic.

  2. I actually really dislike the fan voting part of the ASG, but to be honest I've never really cared about the game one way or another. I watch bits and pieces of it, and occasionally watch the whole thing, but I am not going to change my plans around it. I also think it's completely futile to complain about snubs for the reasons you set out – but especially because you have fans voting. If you are going to have fans vote, to cry about the outcomes is absurd. Is an A's fan going to know how great a season one of the Marlins players is having? Maybe, but I'll be the first to admit that I could tell you little about what players are dominating the NL – outside of Interleague play I just don't watch a lot of NL games during the season. I may know a bit about the NL from stuff I read, but that's about it. Like I said, I have never been big on the ASG, but the fan voting actually makes me care even less.

  3. BrienJackson

    I think the mandatory representation issue would matter a lot less if other elements of the process were rationalized. I just learned yesterday, for example, that the players are required to vote in three relievers. That's insane! But for the most part I think every team almost always has someone who's at least arguably deserving of a spot, so if you started by reducing the number of relievers who have to go and reformed the managerial selection process a bit, I think you could get the obvious snubs down to a minimum.

  4. BrienJackson

    And in general I don't care either, honestly, but there are always a few selections that I can't help but let irk me. Last year's N.L. picks were particularly outrageous.

  5. Brian_Goodison

    Is it bad that my favorite part ofa the entire ASG process is the Celebrity Softball Game. Also I've found that if you treat the game as if it is an exhibition when you watch it everything is much more enjoyable.

  6. Anna McDonald

    There’s a part of me that really thinks the All-Star game is exactly what baseball needs (for various reasons I’m saving for a rant), but I agree, the deciding home field advantage and selection process drives me so insane I don’t care anymore. Again, sometimes I think MLB has the most backwards way of doing things: they acknowledge the problem, hire a “team” of experts to research the problem, come so close to getting it right and then in the end either say they’ve decided not to do anything about it or do something to make it worse.

  7. hermitfool

    Does anyone else find it passing strange Selig's decision to have the All-Star Game outcome determine home field advantage for the World Series has not been reversed?

    Is there any evidence this decision led to higher TV ratings?

    Is there any evidence the managers or players have tried any harder to win?

    Some of the baseball owners know their asses from third base. Why haven't they put on their big boy pants and forced Bud to retreat from a decision that was bad on the day it was made?

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