What Is Wrong With MLB All-Star Games
In a few days Major League baseball again will host it’s annual All-Star game again. I’ve been to three All-Star games, coaching third base all three times. My first time was in Toronto as a member of the National league team, by virtue of the Cincinnatti Reds, winning the World Series. You see, just in case you didn’t know, the two managers of the teams in the world series are the automatic managers of their respective league in the following all-star game. Each manager then takes the majority of his coaching staff along with two other league managers. I actually inherited one all-star game by virtue of being hired by the Phillies after they had won the 2008 World Series and a couple of coaches didn’t return. So much for the small talk, let’s really talk about the actual game itself and what it means. What is wrong with MLB All-star games? I have two thoughts about this topic and how I would change the game:
FIRST: Each year there are deserving player-candidates for team consideration, and each year they get snubbed. The voting by the individual team’s fans, ballot stuffing, etc. promote the less deserving players being placed on the team. Who knows the players talent better than the players themselves, their coaches and the managers? Next in line are all the sports writers who cover the teams on a daily basis. Sure, I like the idea of fans voting in some fashion, but not so much as to sway the vote from legitimate choices. There are some players who may never have another great first half again and never get another chance to be on the team. The facts are that the best players playing the best up to all-star time are the ones who should be on the team. I doubt that you can correct every single flaw, but it’s really not that hard to have some leeway in making final selections. Call them what you want, just place them on the team if they are deserving. Favoritism runs rampant because major market teams attract huge attendance levels and can essentially “stuff” the ballot box. Small market teams, on the other hand, struggle with attendance levels and couldn’t influence a ballot box if they wanted to.
You can see by now where I’m coming from. Fix the selection process. Allow the fans to vote, along with managers, coaches, and media. Somehow regulate the emphasis put on each. Expand the rosters if necessary. The fans want to see the best players, not just the most popular. I’ll bet you the players would actually like to see it too. Some popular players that get voted in are actually embarressed by their numbers and would rather not play. And that gets me to my second gripe with the game:
SECOND: My next thought on the game revolves around the fact that the outcome of the game decides home field advantage in the upcoming world series. Like I said before, I’ve been to three all-star games as a third base coach. The first one was before this rule was instituted. It was fun. The players had fun. The managers had fun. And most of all the fans had fun! I remember when the manager was most proud because he got everyone into the game. After playiong hard all season, these guys now have to go in there and really try and win the game. They have just completed a stretch of around 88 games and are really looking for a break to rest their bodies and their minds to get ready for the second half…where real winners or losers are made! Don’t mistake what I said with lack of effort on the part of the players. These are some real proud pros. When the game starts, they play the game. They were elected to the game and when the bell rings you’ll get a solid effort from them either way. The problem was that the powers to be didn’t think the players were taking the game serious enough. Again I would say there are other ways to fix that. What happens now is that the respective managers have to pinch hit, hold guys back in case of extra innings etc., and the result is that you see a baseball game, but you don’t see an ALL-STAR GAME!! Some of your all-stars never even get in the game. I don’t think that is what the all-star game was really intended to do. It is supposed to be entertaining to the fans and the players, not more serious work when you need a break, and most scertainly not what should decide home field advantage in the world series. As I said, there has to be another way. How about the best record of the National League teams vs. the American League teams at the break? That way the teams with losing records have a reason to keep playing hard for their league. Just a suggestion, I know there are many more.
That is just my thoughts on the game. I’ve been through both, won one and lost one for home field advantage. And while I was very proud of winning for the league and home field advantage, I felt like I was on the end of a winning or losing baseball game, and not an ALL-STAR GAME. Either way you cut it, ML basebal is a great sport and continues to thrive and entertain us year after year.. I tip my hat to the game and am very thankful to be a part of it.
ENJOY THE GAME !!!