How To Fix Baseball’s All-Star Mess

July 14, 2009 – 1:49 am by Ryan Phillips

2009-mlb-all-star-game

Baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic has lost some of its luster over the past few years. Something about the game just bores the hell out of the sports-watching public and the “Now it counts!” campaign has really engendered more anger than interest.

Since Bud Selig is utterly devoid of any imagination and completely incompetent, I’m going to go ahead and give him an easy guide on how to fix the baseball’s All-Star Game and make it both fan friendly and relevant again.

Stop Making It Count
The All-Star Game is an exhibition, solely put on so fans can see the best players in the game on the field at the same time. It’s supposed to be relaxed, lighthearted and, above all, just for fun. The fact that home field advantage in the World Series is on the line is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of sports. Every major league team has to have a representative present, therefore guys who have no stake in the World Series could end up deciding who wins it.

The team with the best regular season record should get home field advantage, end of discussion. Return the All-Star Game to its rightful place as an exhibition.

Get Rid Of Fan Voting
While it’s fun for fans to get a say in who plays, if we’re going to put the best players in the league on the field, the fans are awful judges of such a thing. As a fan of a non-major market team, it’s ridiculous to me that in most years the starting rosters are basically littered with major market players. This year, the rosters turned out fairly balanced, so I can’t really complain.

If baseball truly wants to get the right players in the game, the best way to conduct voting would be this way: Give every coach and player on a team’s 25-man roster (and the disabled list) a ballot. Have them vote for the top two players at each infield position in their respective league and the top six outfielders. Then they each pick three starting pitchers, and two relievers. Here’s the catch, they can’t vote for anyone on their own team.

This would accomplish two thing: First, it’s no longer a popularity contest and players would feel obligated to participate in the event, because they’d have been selected by their peers. Second, you would get the best players, not just the most popular in to the game.

Reduce The Rosters
As it stands right now there are 66 All-Stars (33 on each team). That’s far too many. Set it back to 25 players. Get the top two players at each infield position and the top six outfielders. Then get the top nine pitchers, let’s say five starters, one middle reliever/starter (depending on voting) and three closers. That’s 25 guys and it’s more than enough to make it through a full game (especially if you implement my next change).

End The Game After 10 Innings (in exciting fashion)
If the game is tied after 10 full innings end it. We get a stoppage and a 10 minute break, during which each manager selects his two best home run hitters. Then the grounds crew wheels out the batting practice pitching screen and each team selects a BP tosser. Yes, we’re going with a mini home run derby to decide things.

Here are the rules:
-The visiting team’s first batter goes, then the home team’s first guy, followed by the visiting team’s second batter, etc.
-Each batter gets five outs, and normal home run derby rules apply. Every swing not resulting in a home run is an out.
-Each team may select four players not participating in that round as a hitter to patrol the outfield and try to snag home run balls.
-If the teams remain tied after the first two sets of hitters go, each manager must select a new hitter for the third “inning” of the derby. Those hitters get three outs and the same rules apply.
-If the teams remain tied a new hitter is selected after each subsequent inning, etc.

Now tell me that isn’t something you’d watch. If not, hey, maybe I’m wrong. You’re more than welcome to suggest your ideas and I’m more than willing to listen. But something has to be done because, as it stands, I haven’t watched an entire All-Star game from end to end since I attended it in 1992.

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  1. 19 Responses to “How To Fix Baseball’s All-Star Mess”

  2. I don’t think any of these suggestions are that great and I’d watch regardless.

    1. Stop making it count is alright but that isn’t going to happen.

    2-3. Get rid of fan voting can’t happen because the game still has to make money. The fans give the game money which means they need to be involved. Also, with the reduced voting and new rules does each team get to be represented?

    4. End the game with home run derby? Can’t happen either. Which rounds counts and what if none of the players want to particpate?

    By Anonymous on Jul 14, 2009

  3. I posted the first comment and forgot to put my name in

    By Nathan from St. Pete on Jul 14, 2009

  4. Nothing worthwhile here. Of course the fans should vote! It’s our game. And the game “counts” because no one was watching it and players stopped going–remember?–and the vote from fans and teams was: Make it mean something.

    By Jody Rope on Jul 14, 2009

  5. One of the dumbest articles I’ve read. You have to have the fans vote because they are the ones that watch it. I don’t like that the fans vote for the starting lineup but it’s part of the game. As for the stupid idea to have a home-run derby after the 10th inning, dumb idea. The fans watched a home run derby the night before and sometimes they aren’t that exciting, so why put them through 2 days of a borefest.

    By Paul Talerico on Jul 14, 2009

  6. The one thing I do agree on is to reduce the rosters. This will make it so all of the players can play even if the game doesn’t go 14 innings. It will also make the managers actually do some work because they have to pinch hit/run in smart situations as well as bring relievers in knowing that they don’t have too many to spare.

    By Paul Talerico on Jul 14, 2009

  7. I love every point you make!

    And I couldn’t agree more that using the All-Star Game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series is INSANE.

    What other sport allows something that important to be decided by an exhibition? WS home-field advantage should be decided by regular season record, not even by the alternating league idiocy that I think MLB used before this.

    I remember when John Smoltz didn’t even get to close one ASG and I think Eric Gagne (sp?) blew it for the NL….stupid.

    Am I the only person in the world who actually LIKED the fact that an All-Star Game (read: Exhibition) ended in a tie? Really, what’s wrong with that?

    By Bryan Ensley on Jul 14, 2009

  8. Tell Chris Berman and Joe Buck that the game is next week.

    Tell Tim McCarver that the game is next month.

    By Anonymous on Jul 14, 2009

  9. No more pitchers hitting. Just use a DH every year. No one votes for a pitcher based on their hitting statistics. And no more representative from every team.

    By Blair on Jul 14, 2009

  10. Couldn’t have come up with a dumber list if my retarded cousin was helping me.

    By Julius Seizure on Jul 14, 2009

  11. Very stupid column. The only thing I agree with is that the team with the best regular season record should get home field.

    Get rid on interleague play, and all of a sudden the novelty of the game is back.

    By Rife Madson on Jul 14, 2009

  12. There are no All-Star games where the fans decide the roster. They become All-Popular contests. If you want true All-Stars, then #2 would be the best way to get it done.

    By Grant on Jul 14, 2009

  13. I agree with the essence of your article, that the All-Star game is fast becoming irrelevant and needs retooling, but I think 2 of your suggestions are kind of half-baked. Agree with you on not making it count, I think its a desperate bid to add drama to the game. Fan involvement is not something you can just remove without significant backlash because what you’re doing there is alienating the people who care the most about the game. Go back to the drawing board on that one. Same thing w/home run derby. I get where you were going with it, sort of a ‘sudden death’ situation to prevent a repeat of last year’s debacle, but HRD is on the night before, so that shit’s tired, and it really kills the momentum.

    Just my 2 cents!

    By Karl on Jul 14, 2009

  14. Want to make it more interesting? Reduce head count to 25. Give every player on the winning team a $1 million bonus. Losers get squat. Pay for the bonuses by placing a levy on every team or charge $1 for each fan vote. Institute player balloting as you suggest and weave those results together with the fan balloting. Game would need to continue like regular game — no HRD tie-breaker.

    By Bealzer on Jul 14, 2009

  15. I’m very welcome to all of these suggestions. The home run derby finish was just my idea for a sort of “baseball shootout” that could be fun for the fans and a way to make it so the game doesn’t end in a tie.

    They could also keep the fan voting, but they should do it like the NFL does, where the fan voting is equal to the voting of the players and coaches. That would prevent big market fanbases from stacking teams with their own players.

    By Phillips on Jul 14, 2009

  16. Why not have the ASG determine DH rules for interleague play. If the AL wins then all interleague games are DH rules. If the NL wins then all interleague games force the SP to bat.

    By will on Jul 14, 2009

  17. Let the fans vote, but just don’t count it. They will never know.

    The players are all wimps today. You would have never saw Pete Rose pull out of the game because of “injury”. Hell no, he (and all other players from that era) was there to WIN. Check out Rose’s home plate collision in 1970. Most players today wouldn’t do that in a regular season game…

    There is no pride anymore that “your league” won, because players bounce around from league to league and team to team like rubber bands…

    Make a single MLB all-star team and then go play Japan or Mexico or PR or DR….

    By Keller on Jul 14, 2009

  18. Heath Bell on the hook for the L. Figures… Padres traysh

    By BakersPapi on Jul 14, 2009

  19. Wow, I’m surprised by the backlash on removing fan voting. Everyone says that you need it to keep the fans interest. Seriously? If there isn’t fan voting, no one will watch? That sounds pretty ridiculous to me. I really don’t see the ratings drop much without fan voting – people watch the ASG to see the best players play, not to see people they voted for.

    Ideas 1 and 3 are pretty obvious and hard to disagree with. As for 4, I agree that we need some sort of shoot-out style ending. I think the Mini HR derby would be fun, but I can understand why people would hate it. But still, you gotta have something to keep the game from dragging on.

    By Pablo on Jul 15, 2009

  20. Really? This game is for the fans? You honestly think that?

    The only reason these players show up at the game is so they can exercise that “if I get elected to the all-star team, I get X amount of dollars out of it” clause that was written into their contracts. Otherwise, these guys would be taking a three-day break while a bunch of scrubs played the game.

    Fan voting is a joke. I like the notion that you get voted by your peers and those with some form of baseball acumen (managers, coaches).

    I’m also not a fan of the home run derby idea to finish it. I say we nominate celebrity ball girls to mudwrestle each other for three rounds if the game ends in a tie after the nine innings.

    By MJenks on Jul 15, 2009

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