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.