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Monday, July 9, 2012

ASG...can't have it both ways

In 2003 Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the winning league of the All-Star game would receive home field advantage in the World Series. The All-Star game had seen its relevance slide in previous years, particularly when it finished is a tie in 2002. The slogan for the All-Star game was "This Time it Counts", and baseball hoped its fans would embrace this new idea.

Fast forward 9 years and the 2012 All-Star game will be played tomorrow night in Kansas City. This year's game will feature the game’s best from both leagues (for the most part, will get to that shortly). It will also include two young phenoms in Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, both playing for potential playoff teams. I'm more excited for this game than I have been in quite a while, possibly ever. However, not one ounce of that excitement is due to "this game counting".

Based on this game one league will have a tremendous advantage in the World Series. If it's an AL team for example, they can use their DH (generally much better than NL pinch-hit specialists) to their advantage. For this reason, and many others, it's unfair to have this game decide home field advantage.

IF you have to use this game to decide home field advantage fans cannot vote for All-Star starters. Pablo Sandoval starting over David Wright can't happen if "this game counts". While the Panda is a tremendous player, he hasn't had the same year as Wright. A popularity contest cannot factor in to deciding the most important thing in the game of baseball; it just doesn't make any sense.

More importantly, the one player per team rule HAS to go. As a Nationals fan I was almost embarrassed by seeing Cristian Guzman and Matt Capps representing the Nationals. While both had good first halves the year they were selected, they were not deserving of All-Star nominations. As a Nationals fan I wasn't going to tune in just to see Guzman get his at-bat. I don't think that this aspect of the game does anything for the game of baseball. It only creates more deserving people not making the squad.

While I applaud Major League Baseball for attempting to revive the All-Star game, at this point the novelty has worn off. 

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