July 13, 2011

Baseball’s all-star game is ridiculous

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

This is just plain getting out of hand. We’ve gotten to the point where 11% of baseball players on a MLB roster can claim that they were 2011 all-stars. Yes, this year, 84 players got the call to play in Phoenix.

Sure, there were injuries that kept people out and pitchers that started on Sunday were ineligible, but at this point all-star rosters have gotten so bloated that the midsummer classic is no longer fun. Plus we have to have a player from every team on the rosters so that’s definitely not keeping the number down. But sure, Kansas City’s Aaron Crow is surely a star.

Then there’s the preposterous “unwritten rule” that managers have to play as many of their players as possible which really pisses me off. Baseball games are long enough without extemporaneous pitching changes, pinch hitters and defensive substitutions.

And the fact that an exhibition game settles home-field advantage for the World Series makes this even worse. Want to hear two matchups that actually happened in Tuesday night’s game?

In the seventh inning, Seattle’s Brandon League threw a wild pitch past Baltimore’s Matt Weiters with San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval at bat. Houston’s Hunter Pence advanced to third. You could argue that Pence is the only player in that sentence that had a case for playing in the all-star game.

In the top of the ninth, trailing 5-1, the AL sent both Michael Young and Matt Joyce to the plate. I guess it’s OK because they’re both on the same level of the pitcher they faced: Joel Hanrahan. Is that really the way that fans want to see an all-star game close out?

Why can’t the real stars actually have some deciding factor in this game? Roy Halladay pitched two innings, the most of all pitchers. Cliff Lee threw 25 pitches, the most of all pitchers. Leadoff man Rickie Weeks had three at bats, the most of all players. Heck, Tyler Clippard only threw three pitches and faced two hitters but picked up the win. Jose Bautista, who shattered the record for all-star voting played six innings and batted twice. All of this because everybody supposedly has to play in the managers’ minds.

Something has to be fixed and it’ll definitely take some time. Adding in the home-field advantage wrinkle obviously didn’t work. At least this year’s change that there was a DH in an NL park took those dreadful plate appearances by AL pitchers out of the mix.

This is supposed to be an exhibition for the fans and the fans don’t like where this is going. It’s tough to be clearer than that. MLB, it’s your move.

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