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By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor - Archive - Email
Stop making the All-Star Game 'count'
Bud Selig Commissioner Bud Selig can't have it both ways. If you want to make the
All-Star Game an exhibition for the fans, then you can't have it "count".
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You can probably spend days coming up with different ways to fix Major League Baseball. But because we sit on the precipice of the All-Star Game, we might as well start there.

Actually, I never really had a problem with the game. It is an exhibition, and as a young kid growing up in New York there was nothing better than getting to see Don Mattingly hit against Doc Gooden.

It was an event for the fans and pretty much picked by the fans.

In fact, the All-Star Game has always been one of the few things MLB does right. In relation to the other major sports, the Mid-Summer Classic is the game that actually resembles a real contest.

But then came the 2002 contest at Miller Park and everything changed. Of course, commissioner Bud Selig called that game a tie after 11 innings because both teams had run out of substitute players.

Still, all these years later, it's amazing that actually happened.

But, it's even more mind-boggling that we are now going on 11 years since Selig decreed what should be a mindless exhibition game actually count and the winning league of the contest actually gets to host the World Series.

We all know why Selig initially created the "This Time it Counts" campaign. He wanted to drum up some interest in the event that had been globally mocked thanks to the events in his hometown of Milwaukee in 2002.

For one year, it would have been fine. It was something different. And let's face it, it made just as much sense as just alternating home field advantage year after year between the leagues.

To be honest, if you want to have that game carry that kind of significance, so be it. But if you are going to do it like that, there has to be some changes made.

For one, player voting has to be taken out of the fan's hands. You can't have a game that determines who hosts a potential Game 7 of the World Series decided by fans of teams who stuff the ballots.

To the fans' credit, they have gotten it right more often than not the last few years, but would anyone have been shocked had Derek Jeter emerged as the AL's leading vote-getter at shortstop this year?

And if Selig wants to have fans believing that this game has some sort of extra meaning, shouldn't the players treat it as such?

Remember last year when AL starter Justin Verlander got rocked in the first inning? He admitted after the game that he was overthrowing because the fans wanted to see him throw 100 mph.

Now, he gets it. This is an event for the fans. That's why I try not to carry on over who gets snubbed in fan voting. But you can't have that sort of thinking dictate who gets home field advantage in the World Series.

And he was on the team that actually had to start the World Series on the road.

Not to mention the fact that Verlander only pitched an inning in the game and most of the positional starters got two at-bats at most. So, basically Jose Altuve and Billy Butler had as much say as to who gets home field advantage as players like Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, David Wright and Joey Votto.

If the game is going to be that important, you have to eliminate the ridiculous rule that states every team needs a representative. Are you trying to tell me that viewership for the game would have been any less in San Diego had Everth Cabrera not been chosen as an All-Star?

That's why it is pointless to get all worked up over who was snubbed. By the way, all those players you were outraged about on Saturday night? Trust me, most of them will find themselves at Citi Field next week anyway. There's always a rash of "injuries" this weekend that leads to players pulling out.

Selig can't have it both ways. If you want to make it an exhibition for the fans, then you can't have it "count".

Call me crazy, but what's wrong with just having the team with the better record be the one with home field advantage in the World Series?


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