Republish of the below blog I wrote two years ago, my opinions haven't changed. Four simple steps to make the Major League Baseball game a premier annual event:
---Originally published June 2010----------------------------
less than a month away from the 82st Major League Baseball All Star
Game, I thought it prudent to review what is, and isn't working in the
What is working:
1) Tuesday is a great day to host it
2) Marketing of the event is outstanding
3) Players genuinely covet roster spots (unlike NFL) and you can see it on their faces
4) DH (added this year) to all games regardless of location (and I'm generally a DH hater)
What isn't working:
1) Fans voting in starters
2) Selection of reserves
3) Field Management of the game
4) Home field in the World Series being on the line
More on each of the "isn't working" and how I would fix:
Fans voting in the starters. All this does is skew the starting lineup
to the big markets and popular teams. It used to be the popular players
regardless of team (Gwynn, Ozzie, Brett, Bench) but now it reads like a
Yankees/Red Sox "mash up". The catcher for the NL is always from
Chicago, St. Louis, or LA. Never a .300 hitting Benji Molina or
slugging Pirate Ryan Doumit. Mind you, some of this is fed by Fox, who
do you see on Fox Weekly games? New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, etc.
propose that fans vote as they do today, BUT these players are only on
the roster, not starters. This will also help the field management, the
NL and AL managers can actually make a lineup that makes sense. With a
speedy guy leading off, a contact hitter in the 2-hole, sluggers
through 6, and maybe some better defensive players toward the bottom.
You know, like a real manager would!
2) Selection of
reserves. By the time the players and coaches vote in additional
mandatory players, then the "one player per team" is filled, there's
usually about one or two spots left at managers discretion. I think the
managers should have the whole league to choose from, with the caveat
that his team can have no more than one player than the next most
represented team. This allows the manager to build an all star team
based upon who he thinks can win the game. I think the one per team
stays intact, it's actually something that makes the game special.
Field management of game. The next "rule" is, you play it like a real
game. That doesn't mean you don't pinch hit or just play the starting
nine. But Pujols, Jeter, Utley, Morneau should be in there at the end.
Instead you end up with one of the last players added to the team pinch
hitting against Mariano b/c you want him to play. You might substitute
defense late. You can pinch hit righty/lefty, etc. Brings a whole new
dynamic to the game, rather than the fire-wagon substitutions you see
in the 5th - 8th innings. If a player doesn't play, so be it. It's an
honor to be selected, and even more of an honor if you get a chance to
4) Home field advantage for the World Series.
This is EXACTLY like how the BCS got formed. There was a problem (the
tie in 2002) and they needed a way to win the fans back. Just like
there was a bowl system that didn't pit the top two teams in 1997 so
they found one that would. Both the previous systems were inadequate
(World Series was determined by odd/even year whether it was AL or NL
hosting 4 of the 7 games. They need to do the next thing (both of
them). BCS should have a playoff and the World Series home field
advantage should be decided by team with the best record. If you
institute #3 above, you don't need to dangle home field as an incentive.
fan voting is finalized, I will institute my plan above and give you
the rosters of each league if I were manager. And lineup. Might look a
lot the same, might be different. Roster sizes should be a bit lower,
but not the standard 25, because of the need for extra pitchers given
you won't have one guy going 6+ innings.