It's the time of year again, where I find myself getting thoroughly irritated by the baseball All-Star Game. While it is probably the most successful of its kind (contrast the irrelevance which is the NFL's Pro Bowl), the main problem is that it tries to be all things to everyone. As Jon Bois pointed out, no-one really knows what the purpose of the event is. Reward players? An exhibition for the fans? Or to choose the home team for the World Series?
The way it currently stands, the All-Star Game is a jack of all trades and master of none. It needs to be fine-tuned. So what would you change if you were Bud Selig? After the jump, a few suggestions to Mr. Selig and co.
Firstly, the key thing is to decide what it wants to be. I don't like that it decides advantage for the World Series, but if that's going to be the case, then it needs to be a truly meaningful contest. Discard the "one player from every team" concept. Get rid of the "everyone gets into the game idea" - this isn't Little League any longer. Play it like it's a proper game.
And if that's the case, then it needs to be moved in the calendar, because, say, the Rockies are not going to want to give up an Ubaldo Jimenez outing, especially when they're a sub-.500 team when he doesn't start. I'd favor moving it to the end of spring training, around the end of March. It could be a final tune-up for the two starters, who can then pitch on Opening Day on normal rest.
If that was done, voting could take place online over the winter - let's face it, not many people bother to go through the tiresome task of punching out those paper ballots at the park, unless it's a very dull game. We would then be able to vote for players based on an entire season of performance, rather than, as currently a half-year, which leads to some embarrassments. For instance, Brad Hawpe, who hit .240 after appearing in last year's ASG.
It would be something to talk about over the winter, and rather than the game bringing the season to a grinding halt, just as things are beginning to get interesting, it would instead be an appetizer for the season to come. Of course, the chances of this happening are basically zero - not the least because it would need to be a warm-weather city, to avoid the risk of getting snowed out in Detroit. But living in Phoenix, I am understandably comfortable with this!