Top 5 ways to improve the MLB All-Star Game
The Mid-summer Classic, a.k.a. the MLB All-Star Game, consistently is one of the top-rated baseball shows of the year. Then why does it always suck to watch? It doesn’t have to anymore. Here are the Top 5 ways to make the game SO much better:
1) Manage the game like a real baseball game
It really makes the game an exhibition when you are needlessly substituting players in and out for the sole purpose of playing everybody. That means it’s not a real game. Every player is not created equal. By the end of this years’ game, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Beltran, and Joey Votto will not be participating. Instead, you’ll get (no offense) Marco Scutaro, Everth Cabrera, Alex Gordon, and Jason Castro making the clutch at bats. Is something wrong here? Think how great the game would be with starters still around in the late innings and that deep bench to pinch hit, pinch run, substitute defense, etc. And if you don’t play, that’s okay (save that team picture). Arms can be used as normal, for an inning at a time.
2) Make the fan vote only for a roster spot, not for starting position
The fan vote is a great tool to engage fans in the process, drive fans to the ballpark and online, etc. But they don’t always get the best player in (your AL starting SS is batting .251) and you end up with a lineup of mismatched parts. So take those votes, file them on your roster, then allow the manager add to the rest of the roster, then use the whole 35 players to put the best 9 on the field. After all, he’s managing it like a real game! You can put in an actual lead off player instead of deciding which voted in slugger bats first.
3) Play the game on a Sunday, the other leagues have this figure out
This game is on a Tuesday. I have church meetings, softball league, work, family vacations, and everything else on Tuesdays. I miss the game more than I’d like. And it starts well after 8:00 EDT and ends near midnight (with extended TV commercials and special between inning features). Why not move this to a Sunday? Quick, when are the NBA, NHL, and NFL all star games? Not on Tuesday. Start at the Super Bowl time slot (maybe an hour earlier), finish around 8:00 or 9:00. Kids everywhere get to watch the whole game, heck, I’d think about having a party. Instead I can barely squeeze in dinner after work (let along a jog) before I’ve missed the pregame and are already seeing the stars subbed for. If I don’t have softball that night. And I think about getting ready for bed in the 7th inning (what, with all the stars gone).
4) Announcers actually call the game and not assume fans aren’t interested
The All-Star game announcers (I’m looking at you Fox) pretty much assume I have no interest in the action. And for #1, I don’t by the end, because the stars are gone. But fix the first 3, then please, PLEASE, don’t do interviews in the dugout, or with celebs, or discuss trade rumors with the guy in the stands who just heard the Cubs are interested in trading a relief arm to the Yankees. You’re insulting my fandom. Cover the game, balls and strikes, who is batting, etc. It’s not hard. My best example of this was when they were interviewing Eric Byrnes in McCovey Cove while Ichiro was hitting an inside the park home run.
5) Playing for home field advantage in the World Series was the dumbest idea ever
Some mistakes we don’t just stop paying for. The tie All Star game of 2002 was a travesty, but it was no reason to set up some arbitrary rule with regard to the postseason. See #1, it’s not like the game is REALLY being managed to win. The players were already trying. For pride. Right? Why put this in there. Frankly, the previous rule (if it was an odd year, the AL hosted, etc.) was awful, too (think 1987 and 1991 home field for the Twins). But let’s do what other teams do, let the team with the best record have the honors of hosting. Once again, baseball behind the other 2 major (non Super Bowl) championships.
Among the things they should not change is that every team must have one player and still having it in July. Otherwise, let’s talk.
– David Whitlock (@lhd_on_sports)
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