MLB All Stars – Pick Or Play Your Way In?
I have to make this fast. Intrinsic went to lunch and left his laptop on. A quick update: I think I’m doing pretty good at my job here at The Sports Frappe as their intern. They tell me the job is really a glorified personal assistant, but I have dreams. Big dreams. I love sports and I love to talk/write about sports.
I am going to keep banging away at providing good debate topics, and I know if I work hard, they’ll have to let me start posting on my own.
Comments of support would be VERY much appreciated.
Each year at this time, there is debate about how baseball selects it’s All Stars. There’s the school of thought that having fans select the majority of the players is outdated. Especially since larger metropolitan area teams can easily stuff the ballot boxes.
Some say the internet evens this out, while others say it only makes the matter worse. Now couch potatoes don’t even have to go to the effort of finding ballots and punching out the chads. I blame this on Bush Gore 2000.
Some say it’s wack to have the All Star game decide the World Series home field advantage.
Others say it’s unfair for the All Star game to decide home field, and not allow the managers to pick their teams.
Others whine that the homerism (nepotism) that occurs by the managers on the few picks they do make adds to the cheapening of the game as well.
Another complaining school of thought was voiced by Red Sox manager Terry Francona who described it as “unfair” to have to pick at least one player from each team, thus increasing the chances of better players being left off the All-Star team.
What do you experts think about this issue?
All my best,
BiCoastal Bias: Thanks Kid Knowledge, now run along and make my Frappe of the day. By the way, your pay is directly proportional to how long the blender runs, so get to it.
As for my take on this sensitive issue, I’m a little tired of hearing the All-Star selection process getting bashed around this time of every year. Let me go through the issues point by point.
I love it when I hear that the fans’ voting “. . . is becoming more and more of a popularity contest.” Were you around during the 16 year span in which career .263 average hitter Ozzie Smith was voted into every single mid-summer classic? Look at this year’s starting lineup and there is no one who blatantly doesn’t deserve to be there. The fans don’t get it perfect, but since it’s clear that the players and the managers don’t either, I’d rather have the ballot in our hands, wouldn’t you?
I also have this theory about the positive impact that fantasy sports has had on fan voting. For instance, last year, Brian Roberts had a scorching first half out of nowhere, and got the starting nod at second base. Before fantasy sports took this world by storm, there’s no way Roberts has the name recognition to finish in the top ten last year.
As for the nepotism issue, I have some understanding. But as competitive balance has returned to the American League, I love giving teams like the White Sox, Red Sox, and Angels chances to stick it back to Joe Torre. I hated the fact that Jorge Posada got picked to every All Star game that Torre got to manage, so I’m still in favor of allowing the Championship manager to pick the reserves, just for spite.
And finally, let’s address the “out-dated” rule that each team has to have one representative to the All-Star game. Commentators love to pick on this rule, and that’s because most of them have denied themselves any allegiance to a specific team. As for this sports-blogger, I remember what it was like to be a live and die fan of the late 80’s, early 90’s California Angels, a team that was always and only represented by one of the following pitchers: Chuck Finley, Mark Langston, or Jim Abbott. So tell me this, do you really want to take little Bias’s one source of team pride away from him on All-Star Day?
Yes, because of the rules, deserving players will be left off. I don’t care. It’s rules like these that make baseball’s version of an All-Star unique. Which brings up the issue of home field advantage. If Selig really wants to bring attention back to this exhibition game, the best way to do that is by trashing interleague play, but that was a previous blog, (cf. Day 3 Blog).
MoneyMouth: I don’t have time to be patting our little intern on the back for finally getting his act together and handing us writers a prompt, so I’ll skip the formalities and get right to it.
When we talk about the All-Star Game there is one thing that we must address before we start talking about who gets to play in it and that’s the decision to make the All-Star Game decide who receives home field advantage in the World Series. As long as MLB and Bud Selig decide that this game is going to “count,” then it is a must and a necessity that the best players represent their respective leagues. But until we go back to the All-Star game being an exhibition game, something must be done about the selection process.
It’s for that reason that I’m taking this stance: no more voting and no more one-player-from-every-team rule. It’s just how it has to be. Right now most of you are yelling at your computer screens in disgust, and while I find this funny because I can’t hear you, I’m also dead serious. I hate it too, but let me explain.
No more voting: While I will admit that fans are voting a bit more intelligently these days (fantasy sports is a good explanation), I keep staring at the name of A.J. Pierzynksi and find myself overcome with anger. Passing up rookie phenom and ERA league leading Francisco Liriano for a third (not to mention mediocre) catcher is an unpardonable sin. That’s when Bud Selig should have stepped in with a rolled up newspaper and said, “No.” If the fans are going to vote like dumb, deaf, and blind dogs, then you reprimand them like one. Simply take the voting away.
And I’m talking fan and players alike. In fact, I’m even saying that managers can’t be picking their teams either, at least not without the final say from Peter Gammons. Here’s why. As I’ve said, this game counts now so we have to have the best players starting. This means guys like Jason Mauer get the nod over Ivan Rodriguez, and Jason Bay is replaced by Carlos Lee. While these changes aren’t outstanding since both I-Rod and Bay are deserving all-stars, we either do this all the way or we don’t do this at all.
Every-Team Rule: Every season we have some undeserving player from Tampa Bay or the Royals making the team simply because they have to take someone from their team. While this year Tampa Bay actually has one deserving all-star in Scott Kasmir, we have Mark Redman from the Royals getting the free ride despite his not so great numbers. That spot definitely could have gone to someone more deserving like Liriano or Carl Crawford. And don’t try to give me this “you’re robbing me of my only team pride on game day” either. Look, if I was a Royals fan, I wouldn’t be upset that I wasn’t being represented in the All-Star game. I’d be upset that my owner won’t even pretend to be interested in putting together a descent team. To have 25 players on a team and not even have one guy worthy of being an all-star is an injustice. Perhaps something like that is the wakeup call these down and out franchises need.
Like I said, I don’t necessarily like these ideas, but it’s simply what you have to do as long as the All-Star game decides home field advantage in the World Series. I’d of course rather see us go back to an exhibition game, but who knows if such a thing is possible now that we have a game that “counts.” Until that day comes, we have to start treating the All-Star Game like it really does matter. Maybe then I’ll actually start watching it again.
MLB All Stars – Pick Or Play Your Way In?