If you want to make the All-Star Game relevant again, here are the solutions to your problem:
It's the first sentence of the column and I already am irritated slightly. The All-Star game is relevant because it decides which league gets home field advantage in the World Series. That makes the All-Star Game relevant. We need solutions on how the All-Star Game can deserve to be relevant. Personally, I think the All-Star Game as a format is completely outdated and worked better when fans didn't have satellite television and MLB Network to watch any game of their choosing and did not get to see players play any time they wanted. The purpose originally was to see players who fans didn't normally get to see play together and have a competition to see which league was better. Free agency, the opening of rosters to where each team has a player included, and time has caused the game to lose its luster. I don't think it is coming back either.
Still, let's hear Gene's solutions to "fix" the All-Star Game.
If ever there was a game in which to experiment and expand the use of instant replay, this is it. I mean, what's the downside? That the umpires might get their feelings hurt?I don't see why instant replay would be experimented with in the All-Star Game rather than a regular season game. The All-Star Game winner decides which league gets home field advantage in the World Series, so it is probably better if there isn't too much experimentation during this game. While a Texas-Seattle game where one game in the standings is on the line is probably a better place to experiment with instant replay. Why choose the game where home field advantage in the World Series lies to experiment with new concepts?
For starters, you have months to scout out the perfect positions for replay cameras at the All-Star Game stadium.
It really wouldn't take months to figure this out. Television cameras presently catch the replays during games very well. It would take maybe a day to figure the camera placement for instant replay out.
Balls and strikes belong to the umpires, but everything else is reviewable. The managers each get, say, three challenges during the first nine innings and one additional challenge if the game goes into extras.
Son of a bitch! Three challenges during the first 9 innings of the game for both managers? Has Gene ever seen a baseball game? There is maybe one semi-controversial call per game, much less six plays that would need to be challenged during a typical 9 inning game that doesn't involve balls and strikes.
Holy crap, three replays per manager is a huge amount. Seriously, has Gene watched a baseball game lately?
If it works -- and it will -- then you prove to the traditionalists that the human element of umpiring can coexist with replay.
You can do this during a regular season game as well. I don't get why the experimentation of instant replay works in an exhibition game that isn't really an exhibition game rather than in a regular season game.
The point of replay is to get the call right. Nothing else should matter.
Agreed, though I don't see how the All-Star Game is the best chance to experiment with instant replay...but three challenges for each manager? That's a lot.
Want to see a 600-foot home run? Me too.Want to see someone die? I don't.
Metal bats being used in the All-Star Game is perhaps the worst idea in this column and that is saying a lot. I don't care to see a home run derby. The official Home Run Derby I don't watch prior to the All-Star Game is boring enough for me as it is. Metal bats in the hands of professional baseball players is a terrible, terrible idea. The players don't want to use them and shouldn't have to. If a pitcher got hit by a ball off a metal bat during an exhibition game...well I would hate to be Bud Selig trying to explain to the General Manager of the Phillies why Roy Halladay had to face batters who had metal bats when Halladay is missing a month and a half due to breaking his leg from a line drive hitting him.
Let the Home Run Derby contestants go aluminum and ping themselves silly. More dingers. More freakish distance.
The Home Run Derby is exciting for the first 5 minutes. Then it gets boring, tedious and makes me want to book a red eye flight to strangle the hell out of Chris Berman.
No more fan voting
It isn't the All-Popularity Game; it's the All-Star Game.
I am on the fence about fan voting. Fans are idiots and stuff the ballot for stupid players, but the game is also for the fans so the players they want to see start should be able to start. It sort of takes away the point of the All-Star game if the fan voting is taken away. I was always under the assumption the game is supposed to be for the fans, so naturally fans should vote for the players they want to see. This is why people who use All-Star Game appearances as a main criteria to say why a player should be in the Hall of Fame are idiots.
Did you realize you can vote online up to 25 times before the deadline of midnight, July 1? And depending on how many punch cards you scarf up at a major league stadium, a minor league game or a home improvement store (an official distribution site), you can stuff the ballot boxes full of votes for Mark Teixeira (.229, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs) instead of for Miguel Cabrera (.328, 19, 61).
I believe it is 25 times per day. The fan selection can be retarded, there is no doubt about that. Maybe, and this is just a suggestion, if ESPN didn't feature so many games that involved the New York Yankees or gave Miguel Cabrera a similar amount of coverage they give to Mark Teixeira more fans would vote for Miguel Cabrera. The same thing goes for Brennan Boesch. Perhaps if the media spent less time up the ass of Jason Heyward, they could figure out there is an equally good rookie outfielder in the American League.
Again, this is just a suggestion, but a writer for ESPN complaining that certain players aren't well enough known is very ironic to me. Naturally, the teams that win more games and are more popular are going to have players who get more votes.
So my careful, well-researched and performance-based vote for Cabrera doesn't have a chance against someone with a laptop or a chad fetish for Teixeira. Dumb.
But I want to hear from someone why you have to carefully research how well Cabrera is doing at the plate this year, while it is assumed Teixeira is having a good year. Why would fans (outside of Yankees fans) vote for Teixeira vote for him if he isn't having a good year? Why would many fans just assume Teixeira is having a good year, other than plain ignorance?
My solution: Bud Selig appoints a 12-person selection committee that chooses the starters. The committee would include a mixture of, say, Hall of Famers, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Bob Costas, Bill James, George Will (he's on every baseball-related commission or committee, so he might as well be on this one), someone from Baseball Prospectus and an advance scout or two.
Because we all know the BWAA is always spot-on with their analysis of players and who deserves certain honors and who doesn't deserve certain honors. It may be better to choose the All-Star Game with darts and a dartboard. The Hall of Famers probably know less than the fans (example #1: Joe Morgan) and what the hell does Bob Costas know about baseball that doesn't involve broadcasting it?
So rather than have the All-Star Game starters voted upon by the biases and perceptions of the fans who watch the games and players, we will have the starters voted on by the biases and perceptions of more famous people who watch the game and players. At this point, we are essentially switching the biases and perceptions of the average fan for the biases and perceptions of a different group of people.
You'd still have controversies, but I can live with those debates. And this way the selection show would have some meat on its bones.
I would agree that some of those people Gene listed could probably do a better job than the fans, but there is still going to be some curious selections to the All-Star team if Hall of Famers, Bob Costas, George Will and the BBWA get to vote...at least I would think so.
I love the assumption that fans are idiots when it comes to choosing the best players, but this doesn't go for the fans who read Gene's columns. Fans can be idiots when it comes to the All-Star voting, but I find it deeply ironic sportswriters like Gene believe those who fans who vote for the All-Star Game can't get accurately choose the best players, but he will be glad to use the pageviews he gets from these moronic fans who choose to read his columns to show ESPN what a great writer he is and how valuable he is to get a raise at his next annual review.
So people are idiots and can't make smart choices unless their idiocy serves some purpose.
Do I even have to explain why?Yes, you do. He has had five starts in the majors. If he is one of the 12 best pitchers than he should be in the All-Star Game. This does need to be explained.
Forget about the players voting for other players. Let them vote for the umpires.What about a 12 man committee voting for the umpires? WHAT ABOUT A COMMITTEE INVOLVING BOB COSTAS? HE'S THE VOICE OF A GENERATION!
I've talked to players about their All-Star votes. Most of them try to make informed choices, but there are plenty who vote purely on reputation, or because they think a guy is a good dude, or because they're trying to keep somebody else off the roster.
It can get that petty and arbitrary.So these are definitely the people we need voting for the All-Star umpires.
I am sure players wouldn't be petty or vote for an umpire based on reputation. I am sure players wouldn't punish an umpire who is good at his job but abrasive and difficult to talk to and reason with. Why not have the people who admit to having biases in voting for their peers vote for the umpires?
Stagger the starters
Instead of pulling all the starters by the fifth or sixth innings, use three in the first three innings, another three in innings four through six and another three in innings seven through nine. That way you always have at least three starters in the game.Yeah, but this would ruin the entire purpose of the All-Star Game, which is to have all the best players on the field at the exact same time. What kind of honor would it be for a player to be voted into the All-Star Game if he gets to play the same amount of time as the backups, doesn't get to start the game, and enters the game after most East Coast viewers have gone to bed?
This is a terrible idea. So the backups would potentially play more than those players voted in to start the All-Star Game?
No more World Series home-field advantage
MLB's heart was in the right place, but the All-Star Game shouldn't determine who gets to start the World Series at home.I've always been pretty torn on whether the All-Star Game was the best place to determine which team gets home field advantage in the World Series. At least MLB tries to make the All-Star game relevant again. I still think home field advantage should go to the team that has the best record in the majors and if that is a tie then to the team with the best record in their division. This seems easier and allows the home field advantage to go to the team that has earned it the most.
I like the idea behind it -- make the All-Star Game more meaningful -- but why would you want an RBI infield single by a Pittsburgh Pirate in July in Anaheim to be the reason the New York Yankees don't get home-field advantage in October?
I don't know. What is Gene's preference for what decides which team gets home field advantage in the playoffs? We will never know. This never fails to annoy me. It is fine to not like an idea, but if you can't think of a solution to the problem either, then you are just a part of the problem yourself. Gene may hate the idea, but he doesn't seem to have a better solution.
Ditch mandatory representation
This isn't the U.S. Senate. Not every team should get an automatic spot for one of its players.Shouldn't this take care of the problem with home field advantage being decided by a Pittsburgh Pirate player having an RBI infield single that takes away home field advantage for the Yankees? If every team isn't forced to have a player represented in the All-Star Game shouldn't this ensure that only players who are good enough to play in the game could participate? Would it make everyone feel better about the All-Star Game deciding home field advantage in the World Series if Albert Pujols or the third-string All-Star shortstop gets an RBI base hit that takes away home field advantage for the Yankees?
Let the players sitting on the bench or in the bullpen use Twitter during the game.
Why would I really care about what the players are thinking about during the game? I want to watch the All-Star Game for the actual game itself. I don't care to be entertained by the "hilarious" thoughts of the players.
We can read their tweets online, or Fox can scroll selected messages continuously at the bottom of the screen.
Gene does know we can read the player's Tweets online now, right? The last thing I want to see during any television viewing is more shit scrolling down at the bottom or top of my screen. I don't get how more visual distractions will make the All-Star Game more enjoyable for me.
Texts are good
Girardi turns to the camera in the sixth inning and says, "If I have to bring in a new reliever in the eighth inning, who should I use? So-and-so or what's-his-name?"This is just stupid. What if Girardi has 2 minutes to make the decision and not enough time to text out the question? What's the point of having a manager who appeared in the World Series the year before managing the All-Star team if he doesn't have a chance to actually make the changes he wants to make?
And we, the fans, text our answers during the next 10 minutes. Girardi has to go with our vote. This way the manager picks the finalists, but we pick the pitcher.
So the fans aren't smart enough to vote the players into the All-Star game, but are plenty smart enough to decide which pitcher should face which hitter?
Bud and Joe Fan
Nine randomly chosen fans -- one for each inning -- get to sit next to the commish in his swanky seats during the game. Selig buys the beers.Why would anyone want to pay for tickets to the All-Star Game and then not get to sit with the people they came to the game with? More importantly, why would a person want to waste an inning of their life sitting next to Bud Selig?
Now if Gene was talking about letting fans sit on the bench of the NL/AL All-Star team, that may be a good idea but swanky seats are a good idea, but I don't know about sitting next to the commissioner.
I don't know if I even like the idea of ending mandatory representation because I feel like they will cause lesser players from better teams to end up on the All-Star team and cause players on teams that aren't winning as much to be overlooked. If MLB could think of a better way to determine home field advantage, other than the obvious (and best) idea of giving it to the team with the best record, than I think they should go with it.