This is a very important week for Major League Baseball. The Twins, in conjunction with Commissioner Bud Selig, are trying to prove that not every All-Star Game held in a new ballpark in the Upper Midwest ends in a tie.
But what if it did? What if the once-wondrous, increasingly uneven history of MLB All-Star Games became further befouled by the dreaded deadlock?
We all complain about All-Star games, even baseball’s — which remains easily the best of an increasingly irrelevant bunch — because they’re so easy to complain about.
And the complaints hold enough water to rain out the rest of the Twins’ season.
The players don’t care as much as they once did? True, although this generation seems to care more than the previous generation.
The winner of a midseason exhibition game featuring some players who have no chance of competing in the postseason determines which league receives home-field advantage in the World Series? True. But that change has added urgency to the event.
The rosters are too big and include obligatory representatives from even the worst teams, meaning that even players like Ricky Bones and (sorry to mention this, Coom) Ron Coomer wind up on the field during what should be a relentless celebration of greatness? True. But changing this rule would eliminate any reason for a struggling baseball market to care about the All-Star Game.
The voting is anything but democratic, as fans can find ways to vote an infinite number of times? True … and true.
“Since when, in America, could you vote as many times as you want in an election?” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “I mean, except in a couple of states I won’t mention.”
The managers feel obligated to use as many players as possible, meaning there is the possibility of running out of pitchers and being forced, in the commissioner’s hometown, during the commissioner’s showcasing of his beloved Miller Park, to end a game in a tie.
More than an exhibition game
Therein lies the conundrum of baseball’s All-Star Game: If it’s an exhibition, no one should care much about the score or result. If it’s supposed to be meaningful, it should be treated as such, and never end in a tie. It should be contested like a real game.
Now that the game is in our town, at our beautiful new ballpark, during one of our beautiful summers, perhaps the best response to all of the complaints about it is as apt as it is sophomoric:
So what if somebody you’ve never heard of from the Padres makes the final out. So what if the winner of the World Series can credit home-field advantage gained by players who won’t appear in the playoffs.
And so what if it ends in a tie.
When you’re the host city, baseball’s All-Star Game does its job. It brings the best players in the game to your ballpark, in an event that has created more drama and poignancy.
Quick, name five memorable moments from any other sport’s All-Star games. Can’t do it? OK, now take five months. We’ll wait.
|Miami||2||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Arizona - J. Collmenter||2:10 PM|
|Colorado - T. Matzek|
|San Diego - I. Kennedy||2:45 PM|
|San Francisco - C. Heston|
|Arizona - R. Ray||5:40 PM|
|Colorado - J. Lyles|
|Cincinnati - M. Leake||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - G. Cole|
|NY Yankees - C. Sabathia||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - M. Buehrle|
|Philadelphia - J. Williams||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - M. Foltynewicz|
|Baltimore - U. Jimenez||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - J. deGrom|
|Tampa Bay - A. Colome||6:10 PM|
|Boston - J. Masterson|
|Los Angeles - J. Wieland||7:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - W. Peralta|
|Cleveland - C. Carrasco||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - D. Duffy|
|Detroit - A. Simon||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - C. Sale|
|Oakland - S. Kazmir||7:10 PM|
|Minnesota - K. Gibson|
|Texas - C. Lewis||7:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Deduno|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Lester||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - L. Lynn|
|Seattle - R. Elias||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Wilson|
|LA Clippers||8:30 PM|
|NY Rangers||6:30 PM|
|Los Angeles||8:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake|