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July 7, 2009

Prospectus Today

A Modest All-Star Proposal

by Joe Sheehan

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Baseball's All-Star Game was once a cutthroat battle between two distinct and competitive entities, one of just two times all season that the leagues interacted. The game was played largely by the very best players in baseball, and those players often went the distance. If you wanted to see Babe Ruth face Carl Hubbell, or Bob Feller take on Stan Musial, or Warren Spahn pitch to Ted Williams, the All-Star Game was just about your only hope.

In the modern era, the All-Star Game has been reduced to the final act of a three-day festival, in recent seasons often overshadowed by the previous night's Home Run Derby. Rather than a grudge match between rivals, it's an interconference game like the NFL, NBA, and NHL events. The individual matchups, once unique, have been diluted by interleague play. Perhaps the biggest difference, however, is how the managers and players approach the game.

In the first All-Star Game back in 1933, the starting lineups went the distance. The AL made just one position-player substitition, getting legs in for Babe Ruth late in the game. In the NL, the top six hitters in the lineup took all their at-bats. Each team used three pitchers. A quarter-century later, this was still the general idea: seven of the eight NL position-player starters in the 1958 game went the distance, five AL hitters did, and the teams used just four pitchers each. The best players in baseball showed up trying to win to prove their league's superiority.

Then it all went awry. Before interleague play or 32-man rosters or All-Star Monday, there were the years of two All-Star Games. From 1959 through 1962, the AL and NL met twice each summer as a means of raising revenues for the players' fledgling pension fund. In '58, 32 players played in the All-Star Game, 12 of them staying for the entire game. In 1963, the first year after the experiment, 41 players played and just five went the distance. The 1979 game, one of the all-time best contests, saw 49 players used and had just three starters who were around at the end. Fast-forward to 2007-the last nine-inning All-Star Game-and you find 55 players in, 17 pitchers used to get 54 outs, and not a single starter left in the game at its conclusion.

The All-Star Game has lost its luster because the game isn't taken seriously by the people in uniform. Don't read what they say-watch what they do. That's the damning evidence that the participants care less about winning than they do about showing up. Tying home-field advantage in the World Series to the game didn't change a thing to arrest the trends of managers running the game like it's gym class. Should World Series home-field advantage be decided when some Oriole having the best first half on his team singles off of some National having the best first half of his? Expansion accounts for the larger rosters-up to 33, including an absurd 13 pitchers, for next week's showdown-but no one is forcing the managers to use everyone. They and the players can play the game the way it was played in 1958, they're simply choosing not to. That's what's taking the Midsummer Classic down the garden path to becoming the Pro Bowl.

The damage done to the All-Star Game is the inevitable end product of every change Bud Selig has made during his reign. Selig has worked to bring together the two leagues operationally, eliminating league presidents, separate umpiring crews, and alternating picks in the draft. He's also diluted the mystery of the individual circuits with three weeks of cross-league games each season, some teams playing as many as six times every year. By the time Roy Halladay faces Brian McCann in St. Louis, well, we've already seen that (McCann went 2-for-2 against Doc on May 22), and a dozen other matchups just like it.

Selig isn't backing off on interleague play, and the shift from distinct leagues to MLB conferences is permanent. So if you want to fix the All-Star Game, there's just one thing left to do: Leave the starters in. The single biggest change to this game in the last 50 years is that the elected starters make cameo appearances for an at-bat, for three innings in the field, then leave. Albert Pujols is the game's greatest player, and he has just 15 All-Star Game plate appearances in his eight seasons to date. Derek Jeter is as famous as any player alive, and he has 19 PAs in his 13 seasons, including nine All-Star Games. Johan Santana has never thrown more than an inning in an All-Star Game, and has a career total of three. Halladay has four career All-Star innings. None of this can possibly be good for the game, or for the Game. These are your most marketable stars, and they are making cameos rather than taking the lead.

You can talk all you want about larger rosters, larger leagues, the need to protect pitchers and the number of players who beg out of the festivities, but when you run the game like everyone's grabbing orange slices and juice boxes after it, interest wanes. Some guys will have to get used to the idea that being selected is the honor, while the best players in baseball, the game's top stars, get the most playing time. That's what made baseball's All-Star Game the best of its kind, and it's the only thing that will get us to care about it again.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

60 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

buddons42

Joe, I think a big issue that you didn't mention that causes a lot of this non-competitive atmosphere is a general awareness and concern for the risk of injury, especialy for the pitchers. With today's closely monitored workloads and pitch counts most teams are pretty wary of having anyone other than their people handle their players. We all saw how teams were unhappy with how some of their guys were handled in the WBC, either they got too much work or not enough. I'm not saying the concern is right or wrong, but I do think it weighs into a manager's decision not to throw Tim Lincecum out there for 7 innings and 3 at bats even if he's dealing zeroes and striking out everyone in sight. Lord knows I'd like to see the game be competitive, I don't remember the last time I watched an All Star Game from start to finish, but I think as long as teams are watching their player's health as closely as they are it's just not gonna happen.

Jul 07, 2009 10:27 AM
rating: 7
 
RayDiPerna

"Joe, I think a big issue that you didn't mention that causes a lot of this non-competitive atmosphere is a general awareness and concern for the risk of injury, especialy for the pitchers."

The problem with this is that there was no outcry that the ASG starter going three innings was putting him at risk for injury. There was no outcry that pitchers or position players were being abused in the game. The ASG didn't change as a response to any of that. The ONLY thing we saw was a concern for pitchers who had just pitched the Sunday before or whatever.

Jul 07, 2009 16:54 PM
rating: 0
 
drmboat
(754)

I do think you need to create a rule limiting pitcher usage. My personal favorite is that the manager has to choose one pitcher from his own team. That pitcher would not be able to pitch until all other pitchers have been used, and would have to finish the game. Then limit the max number of innings per pitcher to 3 for starters, 1 for relievers. If it had been Beckett instead of Kazmir pitching last for the AL last year, I think Francona may have left the other guys in a little longer.

Jul 08, 2009 14:03 PM
rating: 0
 
JasonC23
(97)

My favorite part of the All-Star Game is the introduction of the players. To me, the doffing of the cap--to thunderous cheers if you're in your hometown park; to boos if you're in your rival's ballpark; to silence if you play for the Nationals--is the reward for being selected. (This is the reason I'm still for the "a representative from every team" rule--the chance to see my guy standing alongside Pujols and Jeter and whomever is cool.)

After that...eh.

Jul 07, 2009 10:36 AM
rating: 7
 
kcboomer

I grew up in the 50's and in those days and for years to come the ASG was played for blood. It was fabulous. This farce of expanded rosters and getting everybody in the game has just ruined this event. Change the roster back to 25 guys (16 position players and 9 pitchers) and let's get on with it. Keep the 3-inning limit on pitchers until you are down to your last pitcher.

That's two players per position and enough pitchers to last 18 innings. Oh, and get rid of "the every team gets a rep" rule except for the host team. Thanks to Joe Torre we might have to put a limit on the number of players taken from one team. I know it was really Selig's fault for letting Joe do it, but we need to stop that.

And, finally, get rid of the inane home-field advantage thing.

Jul 07, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 3
 
ksidders

Amen, brotha

Jul 07, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: -1
 
ElAngelo
(942)

The All-Star game is an anachronism, a holdover from another era when there wasn't an internet, extra innings package, baseball tonite and fantasy leagues. It was the way you could see players like Roy Halladay and Zack Greinke. We now see these guys every night if we want to. And watching them play against each other, even if there was no interleague play...so what? It's an exhibition, and ultimately a waste of time.

Jul 07, 2009 10:45 AM
rating: 1
 
awayish

Not really. It is a stage to market your stars and create individual buzz. too bad baseball is too fluky and frankly not national enough to take advantage of the opportunity and make new stars.

Jul 07, 2009 13:26 PM
rating: -1
 
Evan
(47)

But there is something to be said for watching Jake Peavy strike out four of the best hitters in baseball to start a game, and them promptly give up a monster home run to Vladimir Guerrero on a pitch that was off the plate away and above Vlad's shoulders.

Jul 07, 2009 14:16 PM
rating: 0
 
jtrichey

Not Peavy's deed, but Brad Penny.

Jul 07, 2009 15:03 PM
rating: 0
 
Evan
(47)

Right, of course.

Shows my general lack of interest in the NL.

Jul 07, 2009 16:24 PM
rating: -3
 
Dr. Dave

Which is it to be -- the "best players in the game", or the leading vote-getters? You can't have it both ways.

I'm afraid it's too late. It already *is* the Pro Bowl of baseball, except that the Pro Bowl players were mostly good for an entire season before being selected. Pity, but there we are.

Jul 07, 2009 10:47 AM
rating: 0
 
Shaun P.
(676)

Note that the Pro Bowl rosters are finalized before the entire NFL regular season is over (Week 15 I think?), and like in MLB, the voting starts early in the season, around Week 6.

Jul 07, 2009 12:55 PM
rating: 0
 
buffum
(458)

I realize this is a highly selfish position, but as a lifelong Cleveland fan, in the Dark Days from the early '70s (when I was old enough to start following seriously) to the early '90s, the typical AL All-Star Team featured exactly One Cleveland Indian, who typically did not really deserve to be on the team. Ken Schrom. Pat Tabler. Teddy the Wonder Lizard. Somebody had to wear the Caveman C or the Block C or Chief Wahoo.

And I would watch the All-Star Game until the precise moment that this player entered the game.

In 1987, this was in extra innings, as Tabler made his lone plate appearance. (He did not get a hit. Regardless of the setting, he was still Pat Tabler.) But generally speaking, I wanted to see MY PLAYER in the All-Star Game. Yes, it's fun to see some of the matchups. but without MY PLAYER, this game is completely pointless.

Last year I got to turn the game off after two innings, as Cliff Lee started the game. Huzzah! But a fan of such a team (today's Pirates, Royals, Nationals, or, sadly, the Indians once again) wants to see That Player make an appearance. It is probably not good for the game, the Game, or the gamy Game, but it is probably not a unique sentiment.

Jul 07, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 4
 
drmboat
(754)

I like this. How was your Game? A little gamy.

Jul 08, 2009 16:19 PM
rating: 0
 
Ira

There is an easy solution to the obvious problem of the All Star game. Go back to two contests. The first one is for all the marbles. The fans pick the starters, including the pitchers (note that its up to the team to make the starting pitcher available). The Managers have a backup outfielder, a utility infielder, a backup catcher, and a backup corner infielder and DH (no matter where the game is, there is still a DH). While the DH is elected by the players, all the others are selected by the manager. Each team gets 5 pitchers (with a couple more available only for an emergency like extra innings.)

The second game would consist of the reserve hitters from the first game plus the other Players and Managers choices with an additional 5 pitchers on each team available (plus any pitchers unused from the first game.)

The first game would count and the second could be used to get everyone in the game.

Jul 07, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: -2
 
Wrigleyviller
(883)

Meh. The All-Star game shouldn't be bloodsport. Personally, I don't want Charlie Hustle running over anybody. It's an exhibition game and should be treated as such. While I'm against interleague play, and would love it if the leagues only faced each other in the All-Star Game and the WS, there's no reason to risk injury, ineffectiveness, etc. for players for a completely meaningless game.

Can you even begin to contemplate what would happen if a starting pitcher from a competitive team gets injured pitching into the 6th or later? Because he's being pushed by a manager from a team he's competing against in a meaningless game?

The All-Star Game feels like a three-day carnival because that's precisely what it should be.

Jul 07, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: 11
 
Mountainhawk

I'd rather them just scrap the ASG altogether before I see a pennant decided because an ace pitcher has a hand broken on a comeback liner.

This game is completely and utterly meaningless. What has HFA given the AL the last few seasons. The World Series titles are pretty evenly split.

Jul 07, 2009 11:44 AM
rating: -2
 
offbase99

At least Joe's making an argument in this piece -- as opposed to the random screed against Ben Zobrist -- but I still mostly don't get it.

Is there anyone, anywhere who's even contemplating watching the ASG who hasn't seen Albert Pujols hit? Who thinks to themselves, "you know who I never hear about? Derek Jeter! Boy, I sure wish I could see him hit someday....?"

Thinking about this charitably, maybe Joe is just stuck in the past. I mean, I remember All-Star games from my formative years (the early 1980s) pretty fondly. Outside of my hometown Orioles, TWIB Notes, and the Game of the Week, I almost never got to see the game's best play. So yeah, it was really cool to finally get to see Wade Boggs work the count, Rickey Henderson steal second and third, Roger Clemens throwing gas, and so on.

But today? You've got the MLB network, MLB tv., the MLB package on DirecTV, SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, and YouTube. I can watch every Albert Pujols at-bat of the season if I want to. I can even program my DVR to record every time Derek Jeter muffs an easy grounder to his right.

So it seems to me that, if anything, the ASG needs *more* of the guys that maybe your average baseball fan doesn't yet know to watch. More Ben Zobrists, more Pablo Sandovals, more Matt Kemps and Brian McCanns.

I do agree with Joe that interleague play cheapens and takes some of the mystery out of the ASG; you don't have to wonder how Mark Teixeira will do against Johan Santana, because you've already watched that game if you care. But again, this seems kind of stuck in a 1950s mindset; you also know how Teixeira will do against Johan because Tex played in the National League for parts of the last two seasons.

So again, I'm left with a set of complaints that seems kind of detached from reality. Where's the BP thinking-outside-the-box here? Why not talk about the Futures Game in contrast? Maybe the solution is a Rookies and Sophmores vs. Old-Timers setup. I don't know -- but I know that I'm not really getting good answers (or even, it seems, good questions) from Joe.

Jul 07, 2009 12:07 PM
rating: 13
 
Nathan J. Miller

I really like this idea. why *not* have prospects vs pros? It's the best of both worlds... chance to see players you normally wouldn't and a chance to see your favorite pros. You can bet some of those prospects would look at the game as a chance to make a name for themselves. If the prospects do well, it'll injure the pride of the pros. The pros will play harder, the kids will play harder. But both know millions are on the line if they get hurt. So they'd be incentivized to not sluff-off, but not play overly aggressive either. I think that'd be a real fun game to watch.

Jul 07, 2009 14:14 PM
rating: 0
 
Nathan J. Miller

Er. To clarify, I mean to extend the idea to not just be 1st and 2nd year pros vs veterans, but to be minor league "all stars" vs major league all stars.

Jul 07, 2009 14:17 PM
rating: 0
 
RayDiPerna

"Is there anyone, anywhere who's even contemplating watching the ASG who hasn't seen Albert Pujols hit? Who thinks to themselves, "you know who I never hear about? Derek Jeter! Boy, I sure wish I could see him hit someday....?""

But one doesn't just want to see the best players; one wants to see them COMPETE against each other and try to beat each other.

Jul 07, 2009 16:57 PM
rating: 0
 
elm
(41)

I was actually talking to a baseball fan today who had yet to see Lincecum pitch and I told him that he should watch the ASG just so that he could see Lincecum. I think us BP subscribers sometimes forget that there are baseball fans out there who watch little more than their team, and even that only occasionally. They may watch the ASG because they're willing to invest a single 3-4 hours to watch all the greats when they're not willing to invest all the time necessary to watch the great players in their more natural environment. Maybe the ASG is for them and not for us.

Jul 07, 2009 17:04 PM
rating: 5
 
lajolla

Long ago, the chance to appear in an MLB AllStar game was an actual financial motivator for player performance. But with today's contracts, an appearance in the AllStar game averages out to around a $25k chump change add-on for most $million+ salaried players.

Jul 07, 2009 12:11 PM
rating: 2
 
ashitaka

I think you hit the nail on the head, lajolla. In the past, winning the All-Star game meant some dudes didn't have to find jobs in the off-season. That's no longer necessary for even league-minimum guys.

Jul 07, 2009 15:00 PM
rating: 0
 
baserip4

My two cents:
1) Fans still vote, but their selections don't determine the starting lineups. They want Josh Hamilton? Sure, but Torii Hunter is starting in centerfield.
2) 25 man roster - 16 hitters, 9 pitchers
3) The DH is always in effect
4) No team representation requirement
5) Three inning limit on pitchers

Generally, I enjoy the All-Star festivities as a celebration of baseball's greatest players. I like watching the home run derby (though it's now far too long) to see the boppers go deep and all the fun the players have with their kids on the field. However, I really like watching great hitters square off with great pitchers when both take it seriously.

Jul 07, 2009 12:44 PM
rating: 0
 
robustyoungsoul

The only thing I don't like about the All Star game is all the pundits making a stink every year about everything that is wrong with the All Star game.

The game itself is a total blast every year.

Jul 07, 2009 12:51 PM
rating: 4
 
boards

There is nothing even remotely interesting to me about the ASG. I haven't watched in several years. The entire event could go away and allow every player a three-day vactaion to regroup for the second half and I'd be fine with that.

The ASG has become purely a marketing event for MLB without actually promoting its stars. That's my definition of a strict money-grab.

Jul 07, 2009 13:10 PM
rating: -2
 
awayish

I think the managerial attitude, number of players, or how players are used etc are all deck chairs. The more important change is in the amount of care fans show for the concept of the league rivalry. The traditional sense of each league being their independent entity capable of having rivalries is lost on the younger fan. I dont see it coming back any time soon.

I don't really mind this change. The focus of the game has been turned toward players, rather than the structural drama of the game that owners have more of a stake in. It is in line with how the game is being marketed right now.

Jul 07, 2009 13:23 PM
rating: -1
 
BillyB

"...when you run the game like everyone’s grabbing orange slices and juice boxes after it, interest wanes.

Tremendous line!

Jul 07, 2009 13:37 PM
rating: 2
 
ashitaka

Joe, what are your thoughts on write-in candidates? Particularly, Steve Garvey, 1974.

Jul 07, 2009 14:05 PM
rating: 0
 
beerd90210

you know it's not even the whole first half that gets people in the all-star game. I was at a game in may and friends were filling out ballots based on 100 AB's.

Jul 07, 2009 14:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

The only problem with this little polemic is that it runs into reality.

Here's a little exercise for the reader. Consider the following list of players active in the 1960s, which happens to be the decade when I was growing up: Max Alvis, Nelson Briles, Frank Malzone, Cookie Rojas, Johnny Temple. Exactly one of these players didn't appear in at least one all-star game; name him. (Hint: he's also the only one who had either an ERA+ or OPS+ above average for his career.) Then name the positions they all played. And ask yourself what Hall of Famers were sent (or, from the beginning of the game, kept) off the field so that each of these luminaries could play. Each one of them, except that one above-average no-show, substituted into an ASG for someone now in Cooperstown.

There's nothing new about this phenomenon, Joe. The good old days weren't necessarily all that good. And the fans of Alvis, etc., were just as glad to see their home-town boys get into the game, scrubs or not, as Ben Zobrist's and Tim Wakefield's fans are today.

Jul 07, 2009 14:48 PM
rating: 4
 
elm
(41)

One problem with your response: Joe said that the problem he identifies existed also in the 60s. You'd have to show something similar in the 1933 to 1958 period to prove that Joe's good old days weren't always good.

Personally, I don't care about the ASG one way or the other. The only thing I like about it are the pointless debates we have every year about whether the right people make it or not. I don't know if I've ever watched the game all the way through and I don't think anything could. For me, it's three days with no real baseball, i.e. the worst three days of the summer.

Jul 07, 2009 16:09 PM
rating: 3
 
ashitaka

The managers picked the teams up until 1947. Fan voting was introduced in 1947, and they were allowed to choose the eight starters. In 1957, fans in Cincinnati succeeded in stuffing the ballot boxes by electing seven Reds to start the game, which resulted in MLB ending fan voting and giving the responsibility back to managers and players. (Not to mention Ford Frick pulling two Reds off the roster!) Interest in the game gradually waned during the 1960s, and in 1970, MLB re-instituted fan voting for the starting eight. Managers' homerism eventually led to bringing back player voting in 2003.

I guess the point of this history lesson is that, aside from the late 40s to mid 50s, there's really never been a time when the teams were full of the best players, the players cared about winning, and the fans were part of the process.

Jul 07, 2009 17:26 PM
rating: 1
 
elm
(41)

I don't think Joe's argument is that the fans need to be part of the process, just that the best players are trying to win. Notice that he picks 1958 as the last good year, despite the fans not being part of the process.

Jul 07, 2009 17:35 PM
rating: 1
 
dcarroll

I agree with elm. I looked back at the ASGs in the 1950s, and there were always at least five players who played the whole game, and sometimes many more. The twelve who played the game in its entirety in 1958 was the highest of the decade, with the exception of a five inning affair in 1952 in which thirteen players went the distance. It also appeared to me that most of the selections were stars, although that is a bit subjective.

In 1958, six of the nine NL starters were future Hall of Famers. There were also seven future HOFers on the AL side, but only Mantle and Aparicio started. Ted Williams, Al Kaline, and Yogi Berra came off the bench. The ones who played the entire game, by the way, included Mays, Musial, Aaron, Banks, Mazeroski, and Mantle. I think "the best players are trying to win" is a good description 1950s ASGs.

Jul 07, 2009 18:56 PM
rating: 0
 
ashitaka

Damn, I meant to say "weren't part of the process." Clearly fan voting has sullied the "star" quality.

Jul 07, 2009 20:46 PM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

OK, so repeat the exercise for the 1950s, which took me a little longer as they were before my time: we see Alvin Dark, Granny Hamner, Randy Jackson, Johnny Logan all subbing in for, or starting in front of, HoFers, and that just looking at two years, 1954 and 1955. None were better than average major leaguers over their careers.

Look: this kind of thing happens, and happened, all the time. The only reason it seems more extreme now, other than the admitted fact that some of the big guys (and some not so big ones) did play the whole game back then, is the larger number of subs to run in. That is probably an inescapable result of the increase in the size of the rosters -- even though the rosters haven't increased in size by as large a factor as the size of the leagues they represent. Sorry, but I simply am not finding this analysis very compelling.

Jul 07, 2009 19:26 PM
rating: 1
 
dcarroll

If your point is that even in the 1950s (before my time as well) the ASG made room for some lesser players, you will get no argument from me. Johnny Logan did indeed sub for Ernie Banks in the 1955 game, played in County Stadium. And I don't necessarily think that is so bad, then or now.

But it was also not uncommon for the big guys to play the whole game. In that 1955 game, four of the six guys who went the distance were future HOFers. That is a difference from the way the game is played today. Whether that made it a better game is another issue entirely.

One other thing: Johnny Logan received votes for MVP every year from 1952 to 1957. I don't think that his modest career OPS+ tells the whole story.

Jul 07, 2009 20:55 PM
rating: 1
 
jayman4

Just let it be the Pro-Bowl, and get rid of the home-field advantage thing, which is just lame. If you are the Mets, do you really want Johan going 8 innings in a game that has no impact on your chance to make the playoffs? I think that would create perverse incentives for the players and managers.

As someone else posted, I get to see plenty of AL and NL players already, and inter-league and WS gives me all the head to head I could need.

People can say back in the day the players cared more, but the game was a very different beast than it is today with all the money riding on getting teams to the post season.

Jul 07, 2009 14:55 PM
rating: 2
 
jtrichey

I have never understood so many people being so adamant about getting rid of the representation for every team. This allowance is absolutely the only reason that some people watch the game. It at least allows some interest for every team's beat writers and spectators to contemplate who the rep will be. I still love the All Star game and still watch it from beginning to end, so I don't have that many problems with it. I would not mind if the starters stayed in for longer either though.

Jul 07, 2009 15:10 PM
rating: 3
 
rjblakel

If the argument is to encourage large ASG rosters so that a variety of players are seen, why not make the ASG a best-of-three contest? Spreading "55 players in, 17 pitchers used" across potentially 27 innings mitigates Joe's complaint and helps promote more players of the game.

[Note: doesn't solve the injury potential, which IMO is the biggest risk, either way]

Jul 07, 2009 15:17 PM
rating: -2
 
RayDiPerna

Joe: "The All-Star Game has lost its luster because the game isn’t taken seriously by the people in uniform. Don’t read what they say—watch what they do. That’s the damning evidence that the participants care less about winning than they do about showing up."

Eggs-actly. The primary goal of the modern day ASG manager is to get as many of his players into the game while hoping against hope that he doesn't run out of pitchers. Bizarrely, his secondary goal is to win the game.

That's not what I want to see, and it's why I barely pay attention to the ASG anymore. I want to see the best players in the world trying like hell -- within reasonable limits -- to win the game.

Jul 07, 2009 16:50 PM
rating: 0
 
BobbyRoberto
(907)

The best part about the All-Star break is it gives me three days to figure out how to get my fantasy team out of the cellar in the second half.

Jul 07, 2009 18:42 PM
rating: 4
 
twinkies25
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

I only started watching the All Star game last year, but I thought it was pretty exciting. Yes, it's for the best players in the game, and they should stay out there a little longer, but because I'm a massive Twins fan (and Morneau certainly doesn't get any credit for anything), it's fun to see him show the rest of non-Minnesotans that he can play with the big guys, even if the media never gives him a load of credit. It's always Mauer, Mauer Mauer(Mauer's amazing, the best pure hitter in the game), but Morneau needs to get his due. That's my arguement for why all All-Stars (regardless of if they deserve it) should play.

Jul 07, 2009 21:25 PM
rating: -5
 
sbnirish77
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

"and Morneau certainly doesn't get any credit for anything"

especially here at BP ... it's as if every RBI he gets is actually a negative stat

Jul 07, 2009 23:09 PM
rating: -7
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Is this serious? The media gave Justin Morneau maybe the most undeserved MVP award of the decade, when he was the third-best player on his own team, and maybe the 12th-best in the league. They tried to give him another one last year, when he was also not remotely deserving.

Deciding Justin Morneau is unappreciated by the media is a bit like wondering when Michael Jackson's death is going to to get some attention.

Jul 08, 2009 00:55 AM
 
jkaplow21

The all-star game is fine. why? Cause it doesn't matter. I like that all the players get into the game. It makes the fans happy to see the player from their team play. Joe sees to want the Yankees to play against the NL and for them to play the entire game. The irony of it all is that the fans vote in the starters who only end up playing a couple of innings. More often than not, most people tune in to see how their "star" does and hopes he does well.

Jul 08, 2009 05:46 AM
rating: 0
 
sanott

sorry if this posted above, but i heard a good idea on the red sox broadcast last night that combines the current system...

keep ASG an exhibition.

if interleague play is here to stay, and selig feels need to have WS home field based on something, then make it dependent on interleague series total record. let it be dtermined by real games, etc that "count". everyone happy, right? although that means AL will be home field for forseeable future...

i blame that evil curt flood and meddling marvin miller for the death of the ASG...

Jul 08, 2009 06:27 AM
rating: 0
 
irichmon

Joe's article touches on something that I've been thinking about for a while. I think that Selig's move to integrate the leagues was a huge mistake and will (in the fullness of time) be a serious problem for the game.

When the two leagues were really separate entities, league championships were very important. The World Series was still the ultimate goal, but there was some kind of fan satisfaction inherent in winning your league pennant. With the two leagues basically becoming two conferences, the playoffs are just a tournament with only one goal--winning the World Series. If the leagues aren't seen as two separate entities, the league pennant just doesn't matter that much, and the World Series is too large a factor in fan satisfaction.

Why will this ultimately hurt the game? Because of expansion. Just as the divisional split came about because expansion made the leagues too large to give all fans hope of seeing their team win a championship, combining the leagues has done the same thing. Even in a league with perfect competitive balance, each team would only win the World Series every 30 years. Since that's impossible, we're going to see a lot of championship droughts that last decades and longer.

Cities with long baseball histories seem to be able to sustain teams in those situations (e.g., the Red and White Sox until this decade and the Cubs), but how are people in Toronto going to feel in 2050 if their team still hasn't won (or even gotten to) a World Series since the early 1990s?

Separating the leagues again would help solve this possibly non-existent problem (as well as making the ASG more interesting). I don't have any kind of workable, practical solution in mind, but I'd hate to see fans in 10 or more cities give up on baseball because their team hasn't won a World Series in 75 years.

Sorry for writing so long on something that's only tangentially related to Joe's article. It's just something I've been thinking about and wondering how other people felt about it.

Jul 08, 2009 07:27 AM
rating: 1
 
hyprvypr

Great article Joe. I agree that the All-Star game has lost almost all of it's luster. Even worse are the fans voting in subpar players. Dustin Pedroia just has no business being an All-Star started over Ian Kinsler. That is just idiotic. Ditto Ben Zobrist having the best 2.5 months of his career. If Zobrist makes the All-Star squad, then so does Russ Branyan...

Jul 08, 2009 08:37 AM
rating: -2
 
bravejason

I always felt that the appeal of the All-Star game was the ability to have the best hitters in the league be in the same lineup and batting back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The idea that I might get to see a particular pitcher/batter matchup really didn't concern me.

A point that is not mentioned is the movement of players either by trade of free agency. Players switching leagues may not occur as often players changing teams within a league, but I have to think that several of the All-Star players have faced each other simply because they have have switched leagues.

Jul 08, 2009 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
James Martin Cole

What a crock.

"The All-Star Game has lost its luster because the game isn’t taken seriously by the people in uniform. Don’t read what they say—watch what they do."

Did you watch the game last year? When Terry Francona hugged Jim Leyland and was moved to tears after the game, he didn't care? When Justin Morneau jumped into the arms of Carlos Quentin (who plays on the team's biggest division rival) after a 15 inning walk-off, he didn't care? Terry Francona was going to have JD Drew (his team's second-most expensive player) pitch!

I don't understand how you get away with this stuff. Why don't you "watch what they do?"

http://www.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200807163140776

Watch Ichiro gun down Pujols, look at how Cueto reacts to giving up the homer to Drew. Look at Tejada's play at short and McLouth's throw to the plate. Hell, look at Hart's throw on the final play of the game. These aren't plays by players who don't care (compare this game to, say, a Mets game).

I can wait for your next article about how the media ignores the important facts. I'm glad Baseball Prospectus has its own Skip Bayless.

Jul 08, 2009 09:27 AM
rating: 4
 
twinkies25
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So Joe, you just HATE Mid west teams, don't you. I'm sure your happy that your Yankees won last night, but I'm sure that New York thinks of the Twins with contempt anyway. Wow!!!!!!!!!! Joe Mauer is the best player on the Twins, but I feel totally mad that Joe (I respect you a lot still) would bash on Justin Morneau. Yeah, he's the MVP!!!!!!!!! 2006 Not Derek Jeter can't play defense hits good YANKEE. Derek was great, but can't you be happy that a small market team got some recognition away from the Yankees. Gosh, Morneau is a great player, not the best in the game, not the best on his team, but he deserved that MVP, to take some spotlight away from the Yankees. They've had enough spotlight, let's give Minnesota a chance.

Jul 08, 2009 11:14 AM
rating: -9
 
Dougie4512

How is it possible that Morneau could be "not the best in the game, not the best on his team" and yet he still should be the MVP in your eyes? By definition, YOUR definition, that's factually inaccurate. But Joe's the homer...

Jul 08, 2009 20:12 PM
rating: 0
 
twinkies25

I would like to apologise in advance to Joe Sheehan for my previous post. I'm not mad at him at all, I am disappointed that BP looks at Joe Mauer, and that's all they see. I'm love Joe's writing, and Will's and everyone here. I just wish that BP would give him credit. John Parroto gave him credit. What about you Joe, and Will, and Christina. Do you? Joe doesn't hate Mid west teams, and the Yankees have some great players. I've just had enough Yankee dominance. Let's give Minnesota, Washington (eventually), Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City, and others a chance to get the spotlight. That is all I have to say, and is the point I was trying to make in my last post, without the agressive tone.

Sorry

Jul 08, 2009 11:36 AM
rating: -3
 
Matt Kory

"Let's give Minnesota, Washington (eventually), Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City, and others a chance to get the spotlight."

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Jul 08, 2009 15:56 PM
rating: 0
 
twinkies25

I mean, maybe we should input a salary cap so the Yankees don't buy all the good players. That's what I'm saying. "The spotlight" meaning "Let some other teams be competative" Sorry for the confusion.

Jul 08, 2009 17:37 PM
rating: -3
 
Dougie4512

Other teams being competitive? Like the fact there have been 8 different World Series champions in the last 10 years (and that includes the Yankees championships at the start of that 10 year run in '99 and '00) in a sport without a salary cap...versus the NFL having 7 different Super Bowl champions in the last 10 years with a salary cap...versus the NBA having 5 different champions in the last 10 years with a soft salary cap and luxury tax...versus the NHL having 7 different champions and a locked-out season in the last 10 years with their cap and tax...

But we need more competitive balance in baseball! There are only 11 teams left in the hunt for a postseason birth! Oh wait...there are still 20 teams either leading their division, leading the wild card, or within 5 games of a playoff birth as of right now? Nevermind...

Jul 08, 2009 20:23 PM
rating: 1
 
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