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This Time It Counts

No, It Doesn’t

Don’t kid yourself.  Bud Selig may say that the MLB All-Star game counts, but it really doesn’t.

And, more importantly, the latest details on the Justin Verlander – Kate Upton dating situation.

Ten years ago, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game ended in a dismal tie when Commissioner Bud Selig ruled that the game could not continue, because both teams were out of pitchers.  Something needed to be done to preserve the integrity of the All-Star Game so Selig came up with the idea that the winning league would get home field advantage in the World Series.

Detroit Tigers all stars

IT DOESN'T COUNT: If it did, Verlander would be pitching 3 innings tonight.

Now, the game suddenly counted, unlike the NHL All-Star Game where the goalies are so happy to get out of there due to the increasing sunburn on the backs of their necks.  Or, the NFL All-Star Game which has been an absolute joke the past few years with players attending only because they get a paid week for their families in Hawaii.  Or, consider the worst of the worst–the NBA All-Star game where the defensive effort is akin to the effort most commonly seen by the Washington Generals.

The first and foremost problem is that the All-Star Game is a popularity contest so it can’t possibly count.  Fans choose the game’s starters.  How else can you explain that Pablo Sandoval is starting at third base instead of David Wright?  And, how else can you explain Mike Napoli voted in as the AL’s starting catcher with a .228 average?  Top pitchers are not selected due to where they fall in the rotation leading up to the game.  I’m glad to see that MLB has embraced social media, but should the final roster spots be chosen by a Twitter vote?

Baseball fans, coaches, and manager complain when their players are not selected for the team, but then when they are selected, they hope that don’t really have to pitch in the game or catch too many innings.  Choosing the players for an All-Star Game has got to be the worst job for a baseball manager.  In fact, Reds fans believe that Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips were intentionally snubbed by NL manager Tony LaRussa.

If the game really counted, then the NL starting pitcher would be R.A. Dickey, not Matt Cain.  Not that Cain isn’t also deserving (he did pitch a perfect game this year), but the reason Cain is starting is that Buster Posey, another Giant, is the NL’s starting catcher and LaRussa preferred to have the veteran Phillies catcher Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz catch Dickey.  If the game really counted, wouldn’t LaRussa have selected Mets’ catcher Josh Thole when Yadier Molina had to bail out?

Then, there’s the case of the best pitcher going the full allotment of innings.  When is the last time you saw an all-star pitcher go 3 innings in a 9 inning contest?  If the game really mattered, you’d see Justin Verlander pitch 3 to start the game.  Heck, now they use the DH in the All-Star Game so there’s not even a need to pull Verlander for a pinch hitter!  But, what would you do if you had to get 14 pitchers into the game?

Yes, the MLB All-Star Game isn’t what it used to be.  Inter-League play is a smashing success so you won’t have the rivalry that you once had in the Mid-Summer Classic.  You likely won’t see something like Pete Rose crashing into Ray Fosse and virtually ending Fosse’s promising career.

But, what you will see is an All-Star Game that does count for something, even if that something is a poor decision.  Giving the winner of the All-Star Game the home field advantage in the World Series is a mis-placed idea that should be scrubbed.  There is too much at stake.  Last year was the perfect example when the wild card Cardinals “earned” home field advantage over the Rangers thanks to the All-Star Game victory by the Nationals.  Don’t tell Texas fans that the All-Star Game doesn’t count.  It’s part of why the Rangers lost their second consecutive World Series.

The All-Star Game Solution

Bud Selig, if you are reading Fantasy Baseball Dugout today, here’s what I’d like you to do for the All-Star Game.

<GRATUITOUS TEASE — Click here for updates on the Justin Verlander – Kate Upton dating details.>

EXTRA!  EXTRA!  Just Added — Exclusive video of Kate Upton and Justin Verlander at a Tigers game!  Has Verlander dumped long-time girlfriend Emily Yuen for the gorgeous Sports Illustrated cover girl?

Keep the all-star voting in the hands of the fans.  Sure, it’s not a perfect system, but this game is about the fans anyway.

Scrap the notion that the winner of the All-Star game earns home field advantage for its league.  You’ve gone too far on this one, as evidenced by the wild card entry getting it last year.  Instead, give the nod to the team with the best record.  It will help keep the top players on the field for those late September games.

Drop the National League versus American League format and play the Japanese League All-Stars instead.  The way the Japanese teams have played in the World Baseball Classic should show that the Japanese teams are capable of being competitive and you know they will be up for the game.

Or, even better, give home field advantage to the league whose player gets a date with Kate Upton.

 

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