So Bud and the boys have gone forward with that silly plan to give home field advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All Star Game, the idea being that this would somehow make the ASG more competitive (read: "would help improve ASG TV ratings"). The MLB players' union had to buy into it as well, so I guess it's unfair of me to blame this exclusively on management, but it was their idea in the first place.
Not everyone reacted favorably:
"I disagree with it, completely and totally," said Los Angeles pitcher Kevin Brown a five-time All-Star. "I think it just takes away from the whole idea of what the All-Star game is about, which is letting the fans vote and letting it be an exhibition game. Now they're trying to make it into something that it never has been."
The intensity of the All-Star Game has lessened in recent years, with increased player movement reducing the allegiance players have to their leagues. Also, managers have become more focused on getting every player into the game than winning it.
"It all depends on what they want: Do they want a showcase? Then do what they've been doing," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "If they want intensity, then have it back the way it was played before, where you see Pete Rose knocking somebody into the stands, and the president of each league coming in and giving pep talks before the game. To me, that's what it's all about -- pride."
1. First, I'd reduce the roster from 30 (now 32) players to 20. Nine starters (including a DH; more on that in a bit), five backups (one catcher, two infielders, and two outfielders), and six pitchers.
2. Next, I'd drop the rule that each team must have a representative on the All Star Team. You want a high-caliber game, get the best of the best. If Detroit or Tampa Bay doesn't have any worthy candidates, tough luck for them. Maybe next year they'll hire better players.
3. Each team will have a DH. You don't go to the All Star Game to see Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez bat, so why make them? This way, managers can leave starters in longer without having to worry about pinch hitting or double-switching for the pitchers. Besides, I say that one reason why the All Star Game was being taken less seriously was because of the attempt to get everyone into the game. This isn't Little League, people - revolving door substitutions are stupid.
4. Finally, I'd give long thought to dropping the fan vote. Every year, the fans vote in some number of sentimental favorites (*cough* *cough* Cal Ripken *cough* *cough*) and half-season flashes. If the managers are charged with winning this game for some notion of League Pride, let them pick the players. This would cause an outcry, from sponsors as well as fans, but it's the logical thing to do if the point is winning and not simply showcasing popular players.
That's what I'd do if forced to change things. I still don't think any change needs to be made, but if it must be done then there you have it. Checking other bloggers, only David Pinto and Mike Carminati (permalinks bloggered) have weighed in, and neither one cares for this change. So be it.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 02, 2003 to Baseball | TrackBack