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I’m not a huge All-Star game fan. I appreciate what the contest used to be back when Hall of Famers played half or more of the game and they went all out in an effort to win for their league.

I’m less a fan these days when the bigger emphasis is on glitz and making sure almost everyone has an opportunity to play. There’s even been talk from Adam Wainwright that he grooved the first inning pitch that Derek Jeter lined for a double – much like the talk that the pitch Cal Ripken hit out of the yard against Chan Ho Park in the 2001 game was soft-tossed.

That wouldn’t have happened in the old days.

That said, it was hosted in my hometown, so I followed the first couple innings via Twitter before setting about doing other things. It sounds like Minnesota represented well as hosts of the spectacle. The National Anthem and Air Force Thunderbirds fly over were fantastic. The lead-up got good play. But as fantastic as the pomp-and-circumstance were and as competitive as it sounds like the game was, my biggest issue with the All—Star game once again reared its ugly head in the end.

That’s when Glen Perkins of the Minnesota Twins (44-50) got Miguel Montero of the Arizona Diamondbacks (40-56) to fly out, struck out Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates (49-46) and ended the game with a groundout by Colorado Rockies (40-55) outfielder Charlie Blackmon.

And with that, the American League earned home field advantage in the World Series.

I have no problem with any of the four being in the game – they’ve all put up All-Star worthy performances. But the combined record of the four teams whose players made up the final inning of action was 173-207. The likelihood is that only one of those four teams will be on even the fringe of the playoff race and there’s at least something of a chance that one or more of those participants is traded before the July 31 deadline.

Yet there they were in the ninth inning of a tightly contested All-Star game determining who has home field in the Series.

So – let’s say Marshall’s Dodgers go on a second-half tear and end up buying, err, winning 100 games. And then let’s say his Athletics cool a bit, dropping to 87 or 88 victories. They end up sneaking into the playoffs when the Mariners and Angels also fade. Then they heat up again in the postseason. If these two meet in the World Series, Oakland gets the deciding game seven … because Glen Perkins got Charlie Blackmon to hit a ground ball.

The most random of circumstances in an exhibition game should not be determining anything important about the most important game of any season – most especially where it is played.

There are those who argue Bud Selig has done a great job as commissioner of Major League Baseball. I think many of the successes he allegedly has had have been in response to his own biggest shortcomings and I can’t wait until he is gone.

Ironically, despite the criticism he took, ending the 2002 All-Star Game in a tie when both teams were running out of players was a move I agree with. Attempting to give the game relevance by allowing it to determine home field in the World Series was, among many decisions I haven’t liked, the one I disagree with the most.

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4 Responses to All-Star flaw revealed again last night

  • Brad says:

    So much I agree with and disagree with here.

    I agree that the all star game should not determine home field advantage. I have often said that I believe the league that wins the most games in inter league play should get it. I think that’s a much fairer way of doing things.

    I also cannot wait for Selig to leave.

    I too am proud and impressed with how the stadium and state have been perceived. It’s nice to feel some home state pride.

    However Selig has had some major accomplishments and does deserve a lot of credit for those. Inter league play is the greatest thing to happen to baseball maybe ever! To think of all the national league fans who never saw Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle, and the American League cities that didn’t get to see Roberto Clemente, Koufax, Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Stan Musial for examples…

    I never got to see Barry Bonds in person, I wasn’t able to see Fernando mania in 1981, Pops Stargell, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt or Pete Rose. That is unfair to baseball fans around the country! Every other sport played every other team though in your sport football it’s a rotational basis like baseball.

    While he did allow the steroid era to start MLB now has the strictest policy in place for testing and for punishment of any American sport and rivals the international Cycling regulations. Look at how much bigger and faster NFL players are now. Growth hormones? If that sport is 5% clean (including kickers and punters) I will start crapping gold bricks!

    Also there has not been a strike or even the threat of a strike. Ratings have gone up dramatically. Over half the teams have new stadiums thanks to the revenue and renewed interest in the game.

    Instant replay is in it’s infancy, but I love it.

    And before I forget… Leaving a tie in the All Star game is never acceptable! Ties are for lesser sports like soccer, hockey, and football. Real sports don’t need time clocks and don’t tie!

    Finally, he has added drama to drafting, which is stolen from the NBA and the NFL which does the draft better than anyone at anything. (To me the NFL draft is more exciting and entertaining than the damn game itself).

    He has flourished internationally like the NBA has and like the nfl hopes to.

    While it’s not a hard cap like the NFL, or even a softer cap like the NBA he has at least brought a better sense of revenue sharing because 15 years ago 20/30 teams were losing money badly. Now it’s at a point where it’s virtually possible for even an idiot like Jeffery Loria to lose money for even one season.

  • Andy says:

    Let’s see how “competitive balance” looks in a few years as the teams on the coast sign these 10 figure television deals while teams in middle America are still getting low to mid eight figure deals. My guess is that it makes the imbalance issues that revenue sharing supposedly solved look like small potatoes.

    I know we disagree on Selig. I think he’s a scourge on the game. I refuse to give him credit for being the solution to the drug problem when it became as big a deal as it did under his watch.

    I don’t wish him any ill will. I just want him to go away and never be heard from again.

  • Andy says:

    And how do you propose solving the tie? Let the last pitcher pitch until the game ends or his arm falls off? Position players pitch? Yeah, that’s what I want to watch in the all-star game. He didn’t have a choice. The managers were too dumb to keep a backup plan in mind. What can you do?

  • Brad says:

    I would have made the game go on. If position players have to play you learn the same lesson that a tie gives you and you still have a winner. It is also then not going to lead to the home field advantage situation.

    I dislike Selig too. I just give credit to him for what he has accomplished.

    Ties are disgusting and beneath baseball!

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