First and foremost having this glorified exhibition game count for anything other than a night to celebrate baseball’s best players (at least for 80 or so games) is flat-out stupid. Having an all-star game determine home-field advantage is plain dumb. If we are forced to accept that for what it is, then there are clearly some other things being done wrong.
1. Why aren’t the best players playing most if not all of the game? IT COUNTS, right?
2. Why are the fans still voting? Ryan Braun is the reigning (and still playing like) MVP of the National League and he isn’t starting?
3. Why is every team represented still? I like Jose Altuve (who!?! I can hear some of you yelling) fine, but I don’t think an Astro should be effecting home-field in the World Series.
4. Why are there so many relief pitchers??? Seriously, I think this bothers me as much as anything. There are NINE closers on the rosters. Starting pitchers are better players than relief pitchers. Period. They are paid as such. Put the best two on each side and the rest of the staff should be the best starters. Give me Johnny Cueto, Ryan Dempster, James McDonald, and Ryan Vogelsong in the NL. I mean, after all, they are only top four ERA pitchers and none of them made it?!?! Jordan Zimmerman is 6th, and also at home even though he’s a star for first place Washington. Jake Peavy wasn’t selected either in the AL, although he was added when CJ Wilson pulled out injured. At least there isn’t the embarrassment of middle relievers involved this year. Those guys aren’t good enough to close or start.
I will be watching tonight. I will be watching to see Justin Verlander pitch to Joey Votto. I want to see Stephen Strasburg face Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. I want to see Chipper Jones getting a standing ovation from the crowd in Kansas City celebrating his wonderful career.
Those are the reasons to watch an all-star game. Those are the things that should count.
If it is supposed to decide home-field advantage in the World Series, then baseball should start treating it that way. Give me the best players for nine innings or longer if necessary. Manage the game to win, not to play everyone. Select the best players to the game and play guys in their normal positions.
The baseball all-star game might be more competitive than any other all-star game. It might have the best and brightest history. It might be the most entertaining. But it’s playing for the wrong reasons under the wrong guidelines right now.