Some final All-Star Game thoughts (yes I know I have wasted enough breath on this already but this will be the last of it…until next year):
– I kind of like the “This One Counts” idea (where the league that wins the All-Star game gets homefield advantage for the World Series). However, if MLB wants to truly sell this idea and for the fans to buy into it, they have got to go all-in with the idea. If you were really trying to win a game, would you ever pull Cano for Kendrick? With a roster full of stars, do you really want Michael Cuddyer having a key at bat at the end of a game? I see a couple of ways to help resolve this:
1. Allow starters to re-enter the game. It’s fine to get everyone into the game at some point, but if your supposedly best players have left the game and cannot re-enter, you are forced with a choice of either relying on a marginal all-star at the end of the game in a key at bat or letting a starter play a full game at the expense of giving everyone an opportunity to play. If the AL is trying to make a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, wouldn’t it be exciting to see Jose Bautista come back and pinch-hit? This seems like a relevantly simple and elegant solution.
2. Reduce the size of All-Star rosters. With all of the players that were injured or unavailable, more than 80 players were named “All-Stars” in the past week. 80!!! Depending on how you count relievers, there are only about 450 to 500 “regular” players in the major leagues. If you name 1 out of every 6 players to the All-Star team, doesn’t that water down the accomplishment? If you are a player that is good enough to play in the major leagues for 10+ years, even if you are a league average player, odds are that eventually you will have a first-half that is randomly good enough to make an All-Star team. I don’t think that should be good enough. Cut down the rosters, and (a) you will increase the quality of play in the game as there will be less pressure for managers to cycle through players during the game at such a frenetic, farcical pace and (b) you will increase the prestige of the All-Star achievement, making players that are elected (like Jeter) more likely to take it seriously. Included in this reduction would be the elimination of the one-player-per-team requirement. Who the hell is Aaron Crow?
3. Double-down on the DH. I noticed that both teams used the DH this year even though the game was in an NL park, presumably to get more hitters into the game. I agree with this; there’s no point in having pitchers hit in an all-star game, regardless of where the game is played. But why not go even further and have each team have TWO DH’s? This would create a 10-man lineup, but so what? This way, you can let more of the starters play all or most of the game (which they should, because they are presumably the best players) while you can cycle hitters through the DH slots to make sure that even all the bench players get an at bat. The more I think about this, the more I think that this is the best idea I have ever had. Even better than my cellphone / electric razor idea. Even better than my idea for a gym where the kinetic energy from people working out is harnessed and converted into electricity. Best. Idea. Ever.