With the selections for this year’s All-Star game being announced today, I figured now would be as good a time as any to ask the brain trust here at Wahoo’s on First a question of the utmost importance: How would you fix the All-Star game? I gave them no restrictions. They could scrap the game all together, completely turn it on its head and make it into a whole new game, or anything else they could possibly come up with. Here is what they came up with.
Kyle Downing: I’d keep it AL vs NL. I’d also keep the stadium selection the same. However, I’d only let the fans vote determine one player on each team. Instead of voting by position, fans would vote by which member of each team they’d like to see play in the All-Star Game. That way there wouldn’t be all this annoying crap like Derek Jeter getting a crap ton of votes for Shortstop this year even though he hasn’t played a game. The managers and peers would determine the rest of the players deemed worthy of an appearance, filling out the necessary positions. If too many players newer voted at one position, the runner ups on certain teams would replace them in the game. If they filled a needed position. This would be evaluated by the managers of each league team.
Matthew Trevathan: I actually like Kyle’s idea. Allowing the fans to pick one player (and vote once, for heaven’s sake) that they love but the managers of the respective teams get to determine if the vote makes any sense. That would prevent the Jeters-who-have-been-on-the-
Mitchell Below: Blecchh. The only change that could make the All-Star Game palatable to me would be to reduce the roster size, eliminate the requirement that every team be represented, and end the parade of substitutions that lengthen the game. If the game truly “counts,” it should be played like a competitive baseball game and not an exhibition.
This would require some delicate negotiations regarding the pitching staff (e.g. pitch counts and reliever usage), and would probably require some payoff to the union (winning team splits a World Series share?), but would pay dividends in the form of additional TV revenue (better programming, increased fan interest).
Ed Carroll: The best ASG solution? KILL IT DEAD.
The next best? Basically the same thing. First, the ASG doesn’t decide home-field advantage in the World Series. I don’t think I need to defend the insanity of this rule with any arguments. Second, the insane rule that every team needs an all-star representative needs to go. I would be willing to make a concession here, and allow the host team to always have a representative, but even that’s a little silly.
Third, don’t play nine innings. I’d make it a six-inning affair at most. I’m sure someone will whine that a six-inning all-star game isn’t really baseball, but a nine-inning all-star game isn’t baseball either. Six innings keeps the game short, and also cures the need to snub deserving players in order to carry a reliever “in case the game goes to extra innings.” You’d need 3 pitchers, tops.
That’s another thing here, DON’T FREAKING PLAY EXTRA INNINGS. Go to a home run derby for all I care, but there’s no reason to keep the ASG any longer than it already is.
Do away with fan voting (I’d be OK with fans voting for the last roster spot), cut the roster in half, move the game to Wednesday (less screwy with rotations, gives Futures Game its own day).
But ending the silly exhibition is probably the best solution.
Steve Kinsella: I don’t generally watch the All-Star game because I am usually on vacation with my family during that week. The first change I’d make is to remove the outcome of the game determining the home field of the World Series. Other than that I’d shorten the game to 7 innings in the event that extra innings are needed and allow for a quicker event for TV. I’d also adopt the World Baseball Championship rules if the game went past 9 innings. Put a base runner on 2nd to begin the inning.
Jeff Mount: To be honest, I haven’t watched an All-Star game in at least ten years, and I can’t think of anything they could do that would make me watch. For the sake of the game, though, I would scrap the home field in the World Series thing. It just feels like something they would do on a game show. Whenever Bud Selig has chosen between enhancing the entertainment value of baseball and maintaining the integrity of the sport, he has chosen entertainment value. This is one where he pushed it too far.
Michael Chaney: I think that voting for the MLB All-Star Game should be organized like how it is for the AAA All-Star Game. The voting is divided so that 1/3 of the votes come from the fans, 1/3 come from the media, and 1/3 come from team personnel like coaches, managers, and general managers. If it were to go like this, people could still have the power to vote for a popular player like Derek Jeter. Sadly, voting for the All-Star Game is pretty much a popularity contest. If it weren’t, most players on the Giants’ roster wouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of the voting, but somehow they are. I’m looking at you, Gregor Blanco.
However, if the AAA All-Star voting method was used, the popularity contest could be countered and regulated by the media and team personnel who would probably vote for the most deserving guy, and not just the most popular.
This way, everyone wins. The fans can vote for their favorite players, while others in the league could vote for the most deserving guy.
Katrina Putnam: I’m one of those people who actually likes the All-Star game. People who complain about it interrupting the season must forget that the break is a great opportunity for players to rest up and get back to almost-full strength before the final half of the season. Scrapping it completely would take away that break. It’s also a good revenue source for the host city.
The only change I’d make is to allow more spots to be decided by player voting. The players are much more aware of who deserves to make the team because they fully understand the level of skill needed to succeed in the game. It’s fun to be voted in by fans, but it’s more of an honor to be chosen by your peers. Also, fans should only get one vote rather than 25. That’s just pointless. But the game itself should remain the same. As an exhibition game, its main purpose is to entertain fans and give them an opportunity to see players that they rarely get to watch. I personally love having a chance to see the National League stars, even if it’s only for an inning or two. Great baseball is always fun, even when the game doesn’t technically count for anything.
Brian Heise: I love the All-Star game and for whatever reason, I still feel the need to watch it. I think it’s because it’s that one thing that I can rely on to take me back to when I was 10 years old and remember how things were before I had adult responsibilities. That said, I’d complete scrap the game as is and implement the following changes.
The first thing would be scrap the AL vs. NL format. Interleague play, especially with how it is now that we have interleague games every day, has ruined that novelty. Plus, that means no more World Series involvement. Thank God.
Second, equal weights for fan/player/coach voting. The caveat being that fans can only vote for three players and can only vote at the stadium, the way they did back in the day. That means no more internet voting because that’s what caused so many of the current problems. Rosters are then determined by combining the three categories of votes to build a player pool. The only requirement is one representative from the host team.
Third, the game is moved to Sunday night. That allows for Home Run Derby on Friday. The two finalists are made captains with the winner receiving the first pick in the “draft.” On Saturday night a draft is held with the two derby winners picking teams. The game, with the newly drafted teams is held on Sunday.