This Time…It Doesn’t Make Sense
The All Star game needs some help. Now, I could be a little biased due to the fact that I’m a National League guy and they haven’t won the Midsummer Classic since 1996. Yikes, even typing that hurts. But I would be writing the same thing even if I were an AL fan.
The problem as I see it is that the game has become a half exhibition half playoff game, which is just kind of a strange combination. It turned into that after the 2002 game which ended in a tie. Fans and critics argued that the players and managers no longer took it seriously. In an effort to respond to the uproar, Bud Selig decided that the All Star game would now decide home field advantage for the World Series.
I haven’t been in favor of many decisions that Bud Selig has made, and this is one of them, however I do appreciate the fact that he was trying to make a difference. The problem is, it’s put the ASG in some sort of sports no man’s land. It’s not just an exhibition game because the players are playing for something that can help their team and their league. But it’s not a regular game because the fans determine who starts the game. And I don’t believe those two dimensions can go together.
Fans stopped voting for the best players years ago. Now the voting is essentially a popularity contest. It’s become about which city can stuff the ballot boxes and get their favorite players in, not voting in the players who have the best stats.
But if the game now means something; if the players are now playing for more than just fun, then it seems as though each league deserves to have the players who have the best statistics at their position to start the game, not the most popular.
So if the game is to mean something, I think the League needs to change the voting process. We don’t get to determine the starting lineups for our favorite teams during the course of a year. Why should we be allowed to select them for the All Star Game when “This Time, It Counts?”
That, of course, will not happen. I don’t see how MLB could ever do that without facing serious backlash from the fans. And if they won’t do that, then I think they need to get rid of the playing for home field advantage aspect of the All Star Game.
Looking back at what caused this whole thing (the tie in 2002), I’m actually not quite sure what all the fuss was about. The All Star Game is supposed to be fun. It’s about seeing players who do everything to beat each other 162 games a season play on the same team for 9 innings. It’s about getting to see some of the best in the game on the same field at once. It’s about the fans and players having fun and being able to take a break from the standings for one night.
Sure, it was disappointing to the fans to see the game end in a tie that one night (especially the fans who payed big bucks to see that tie). But I think it was blown way out of proportion. Ultimately the Midsummer Classic isn’t about the score at the end. It’s getting to see something unique and historical. The score should really be an afterthought.
What do you all think?