As the 77th All-Star game near the end **come on AL, lets go already** the annual debate about the validity of the game continues. Not to mention the usual arugments over who should or should not be in the game. In the past couple of years I have noticed there has been little debate over the "aging" player getting in because of their past and not current years. Remember Cal Ripken and others?
I like the All-Star game for what it is, which is an exhibition game between some of the best players. In recent years allowing player picks, has in my mind help even things out a little from the fans and manager selections. But, it dosen’t mean the game is pointless nor does it mean it can’t use a little pick-me-up as well. Thus, in my effort to make the All-Star game, um, more exciting, here are my Top 5 All-Star Improvement Steps.
5. Let the fans pick 3 pitchers. Somehow we trust the fans to pick all the position players except for the pitchers. Why? For as long as I can remember, this has been the case and its never been explained that I know of. Now, I can grant we don’t want a guy who starts on Sunday, having to play on Tuesday. But, is that a good excuse to not let the fans vote? If it were the case, maybe snubs such as Lirano, Mussina, Maddux, Clemens and others would not hurt as much. Its the fans choice isn’t it?
4. Increase the roster size. Naturally we don’t want to diminish the idea that the All-Star game should about the best players in the game. Its what we want. But, there is no reason why the roster can’t be increased to include 2 position players and 3 pitchers not currently allowed. If either league can’t say they could place another 5 players on the roster who warrant the spot, then there are bigger problems in baseball and All-Star game can ever fix. Plus, it can also eliminate the whole my pitcher pitched on sunday and he can’t play story. Nothing wrong with coming in for a batter because you have the extra pitchers now to do so. Remember its the best players, not the best players minus the best pitchers who pitched too close to the All-Star game.
3. Eliminate the one manager filling out the roster and let all the league managers vote. This elminates complaints of favoritism of one manager and allows the men who face all the league players to decide. It would be interesting to see who would get voted on by 14 AL managers or 16 NL managers. We let the Fans vote. We let the Players vote. Why not the managers? Maybe you might see an Omar Vizquel get a nod when the managers around the league say, he deserves the spot. Which this year, you can almost make a case for.
2. Instead of winning team getting home field advantage in the World Series, make the losing team have to wear bright pink uniforms the following year. Now here is an idea. With the last few dominating WS by the AL which aren’t even going 5 games anymore, lets use a little punishment as the motovating factor. Can you imagine Pedro Martinez having to wear a bright pink uniform next year. Players will play their hearts out to avoid wearing pink. Trust me.
1. Suspend games for one full week and have a best of 3 All-Star week. Now this could be fun. Three parks, three games. This solves a couple of issues. First, you get a 3 game set. Even if the AL wins the first two games, the third could be a motivator for the NL to win and save face. Second, non all-stars get a much needed rest to heal and prepare for the second half of the season. Third, struggling teams can try and regroup during the week off. I like this idea because it makes sence.
So there it is, my 5 step program to All-Star success. Of course I could include nude mud wrestling with the players wives, or a gladiator type of situation where if a player strikes out they have to run from lions. You could even have the players play the best all beer drinker softball team. But, more or less somebody might complain about them ideas. So I kept it simple. 5 easy steps.
Btw. AL wins 3-2. Ya think the NL will just give up the all-star game for good?