Fixing the MLB All-Star Festivities

July 10, 2012 | Brett Dickinson

After the 2002 All-Star game, the genius that is Bud Selig thought it would be a great idea to place value to the game by determining home field advantage for the World Series. Since, the game is more competitive, as managers are actually utilizing the 34 man rosters, instead of throwing players out there to get them in the game (even if it’s out of position). But its results leave a disadvantage to the best teams in the league. Over a 162 game season, the teams with the best records deserve home field throughout the playoffs.

Players such as Jose Altuve for the Houston Astros and Ryan Cook for the Oakland Athletics, who play for teams with no chance at even a Wild Card spot, will determine who has home field in game seven of the series. Now it does not always end incorrectly, but why is the risk necessary. There are other ways to not only make the game, but the entire week more competitive.

Instead of matchups be between the American vs. National Leagues, change the format similar to hockey; U.S.A vs. the World. The game is so diverse now that assembling rosters for both squads will be equally accessible as the current system. This should not be just for the game though, but all the festivities, including the Home Run Derby.

One of the most rememberable moments from last year’s games was watching David Ortiz wipe the sweat off Robinson Cano’s head during the derby; blasphemy for a Red Sox and Yankee to interact this way in any other portion of the season. The bond between country men will always be stronger than team ties, so why not use that to the MLB’s advantage.

The Future’s game already follows this format, but why not expand upon that idea as well; as the game only displays highly touted lower level minor leaguers. Why not add a Rising Star’s game (like the NBA has already done), where players from higher level farm systems and up-and-coming rookies mixed into rosters. Who wouldn’t want to see Manny Machado take on Yu Darvish? Dylan Bundy pitch against Jesus Montero?

The competitive nature would be dually noted at the Major League level, as the players are playing for pride again; a notion lost over the years with the million dollar salaries. If the World Baseball Classic has proven anything, it is a nations bond is much stronger than an individual’s allegiance to a franchise. It will get back to the idea that the Mid-Summer Classic is not about money but ability. Both teams could easily be re-tooled with this year’s All-Stars.

Imagine these starting lineups:

USA
C: Buster Posey
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: David Wright
LF: Ryan Braun
CF: Josh Hamilton
RF: Curtis Granderson
DH: Mark Trumbo
SP: Justin Verlander
RP: Craig Kimbrel
CP: Jim Johnson

World
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Elvis Andrus
3B: Miguel Cabrera
LF: Carlos Gonzalez
CF: Carlos Beltran
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: David Ortiz
SP: Felix Hernandez
RP: Fernando Rodney
CP: Aroldis Chapman

Current day baseball is an international game and MLB should take advantage of being the most diverse league in the world. Competition will bring out the best in the top notch athletes across the sport, making the All-Star game once again relevant (without lessening the regular season).

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