Change the All-Star Game or Scrap It

It’s been three days since the last regular season game, and I feel like Homer Simpson with no TV and no beer. (“All I need is a title. I was thinking along the lines of… No meaningful baseball on TV makes Alex something, something.”) Back before national television contracts and interleague play, the All-Star Game was one of the only times that fans could see the greatest players from the other league.

But then, back in the old days, some of that was ameliorated by in-season exhibition games and post-season barnstorming. And the best players — Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Willie Mays — played the whole game, because you don’t take Stan Musial out of a game. Especially not for a lame excuse like saying that the game is “for the fans.”

When ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick asked Justin Verlander about his abysmal performance in the Midsummer Classic, Verlander explained that he wasn’t trying to get by with guile. “I know this game means something,” he said, “But we’re here for the fans, and I know the fans don’t want to see me throw 90 [miles per hour] and hit the corners.”

Actually, I’m a fan, and I’d love to see the best pitcher in the league try his damnedest to beat the best players in the other league, rather than just raring back and throwing souped-up straight fastballs because he thinks that’s what people want. We need to revisit what the All-Star Game means, why it matters, and whether we should still have one.

Being selected as an All-Star is a great honor. But, between the fan balloting, ballots from players, selections by the managers, Final Votes from fans, injury replacements, and the requirement that each team have an All-Star — which led to the Marlins complaining that no one selected Justin Ruggiano or Greg Dobbs as an injury replacement for Mike Stanton — it’s hard to say exactly what being an “All-Star” represents.

The All-Star Game has always been a cross between a popularity contest and an exhibition game between the best players in each league. Of course, that means that Verlander’s unwillingness to change speeds cost his league the right to home field advantage in the World Series. The whole point of awarding home field based on which league won the All-Star Game was supposed to make the game more exciting. Instead, it had the opposite effect: it cheapened the World Series.

One suggestion: every fan votes once and the managers pick injury replacements. However, there is no requirement that each of the 30 teams gets an All-Star, and there is no suggestion that every player get in the game. Ryan Braun plays all 9 innings if he’s healthy. This would be a bit more like the old All-Star games.

Or, we could just take the game to its natural progression, decoupling it from the World Series, letting every player play their one inning and then hit the showers, and instruct the pitchers to do what Verlander did: don’t try too hard, because the fans want offense, not defense. This would make it like the Pro Bowl.

Obviously, I’d prefer the first. But let’s acknowledge that the longer we wait to make a choice, the more the game will naturally drift toward the second option. I don’t know which fans this year’s All-Star Game was supposed to be for, but it certainly isn’t for me.

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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.

92 Responses to “Change the All-Star Game or Scrap It”

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  1. Jamie says:

    The All-Star game has always been about one thing: generating massive revenue from the Pepsi Mastercard State Farm Jack Links Beef Jerky Absolutely Final Vote For The Special Surprise Home Run Derby Ball Shagger.

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    • EdwardM says:

      That may be true but I think the implication of AR’s piece is that MLB is doing a poor job generating that revenue. I know I turned the game off after the 1st and I’m sure many others did also. A dull, meaningless game is not going attract many viewers and fewer viewers means, ultimately, less income for MLB and the sponsers.

      I would love to see Verlander show up with his “A” game and face the best of NL and see what happens.

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      • RC says:

        “A dull, meaningless game is not going attract many viewers and fewer viewers means”

        Thats probably half of baseball games though. Blowouts happen, and there’s really nothing that can be done.

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  2. Chris Magyar says:

    I like the idea of changing to a “USA vs. The World” format, now that leagues don’t mean anything.

    Or how about “Rookies vs. Veterans”? That’s actually my polite way of saying “Young vs. Old” — the idea being that fans vote for two teams: players 28 and older, and players 27 and younger. “Perennial” All-Stars who coast on popularity have a team all to themselves while up-and-coming superstars have a roster to fit into.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Have the AL field 8 DHs and the NL field 8 position players. Why yes, yes I would tune in to watch David Ortiz attempt to catch a fly ball to right field.

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  3. Jason H says:

    Im pretty sure Verlander was trying his hardest to get outs no matter what he claims.

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    • Tom says:

      It does sound a lot like excuse making.

      Why does he dial up his velocity in late innings if he’s better using “guile” and working on the corners at reduced velocity? Is he just putting on a show for fans late in the game too?

      If you watch him pitch he tends to dial up the velocity anytime it’s either late or in a tight situation (men in scoring position) despite being “better” at lower velocity when he uses “guile” and paints the corners?

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      • Graham says:

        Where did this conclusion that Verlander is “better” when using “guile” come from? Is there evidence for this? It seemed like Verlander cruising at slower speeds was purely a function of him trying to conserve his energy for when he really needed it. That’s what I had always heard, at any rate; and it’s the reason I assumed he was able to throw so many innings each year.

        Of course, if this logic is true — and again, I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I’ve never seen any evidence to the contrary — then Verlander’s poor performance in the first had absolutely nothing to do with him just throwing 98-mph meatballs, and everything to do with him trying to pitch at max velocity like he might’ve in the 8th or 9th, or with runners in scoring position. And if that’s true, then the primary catalyst cited for this somewhat curmudgeonly article disappears.

        Look, the All-Star Game isn’t perfect. How could it be? But it IS fun to see matchups you don’t often see, and I think the idea of scrapping it seems like pouting more than anything else.

        I like the US vs. the World concept, but that clearly won’t happen so long as baseball is committed to the WBC. The young vs. old thing will never happen either. And there’s really no going back to Willie Mays playing all nine innings. I think we might actually see a slight bit of pushback, with managers sticking with some players an inning longer than they might’ve eight or 10 years ago; but to me at least, it seems like the All-Star Game “is what it is,” to borrow a well-worn sports cliche.

        And I’m pretty much okay with that — at least, given that I’ve yet to hear any truly credible alternatives.

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      • Dan says:

        Might sound like excuse making, but he was obviously wild from the start in the ASG and throwing 5-6 mph harder than he usually does in the first inning may have contributed to his inability to hit his spots.

        If he stays nice and easy he may have had much better command and better results. It was obvious he was just throwing hard and was missing his spots high most of the time.

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    • Brazen Reader says:

      His problem is that he’s chasing Kate Upton [that’s a link]

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    • Hamilton Marx says:

      I’m pretty sure the 3 run triple to Sandoval was on an off speed pitch. Not sure what Verlander is talking about.

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  4. Jason H says:

    I enjoyed the All Star game. I don’t see that there is necessarily anything wrong with it. I much prefer it inclusive of all the teams and as many players as possible. In fact, if anything, I would prefer a cap on how many players from each team can make the team. The Rangers were entirely overrepresented this year, for example.

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    • Mitchell says:

      I wouldn’t say the Rangers were overrepresented. Hamilton and Beltre deserved to start, either Andrus probably should have started over Jeter, if not Cabrera, and Kinsler deserved to be a backup at 2B. Nathan and Harrison have certainly been good enough to pitch 1 inning. Yu Darvish only deserves it if you omit his first couple starts, but he didn’t play anyways. Napoli is the only Ranger who should not have been on the team.

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      • Jason H says:

        The fans decide who starts, so who you think should have started only matters as much as your votes. Im not going to argue with the fans for the three starting Rangers and Darvish. However, we didnt need the rest of the Rangers team backing up the All Star starters. We certainly could have done without Andrus, Kinsler, Nathan and Harrison.

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      • Fans don’t vote on pitchers.

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      • Jason H says:

        No, but the Fans did vote on Yu Darvish.

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      • Bryan says:

        I keep hearing this “Napoli was undeserving” thing and I don’t get it. Is there a rule that All-Stars should be picked based on 10 weeks of spring results? Napoli was the best hitter in the game after the All-Star break last year. He was the best player in the postseason. He slumped this May and June, but even after that slump, he had more WAR from July to June than any other AL catcher, even if we ignore his monster October. Are we supposed to ignore everything that happens after the All-Star game and pick somebody who went on a hot streak in May when we had ballots in our hands?

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      • Baltar says:

        Kudos to Brian. FanGraphs (not necessarily Alex Remington) shows a very strong bias in favor of 3-month stars belonging on the All Star Team. I don’t know why–maybe just because it’s easier statistically. I’d rather see actual Stars.
        Alex is right to call for one-man, one-vote, without the Byzantine structure.
        The game is for the fans. Let us pick the whole teams (except maybe for injury replacements), and let the players play normally.

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      • zatchj62 says:

        Really? Beltre deserved to start? Look at Cabrera’s numbers compared to Beltre’s and say that again.

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      • zatchj62 says:

        Most fans voting don’t look at WAR, they look at the basic, more well known stats. On the surface Cabrera has Beltre outdone.

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    • KCDaveInLA says:

      Amen for that! I understand that a manager has to do whatever it takes to make his players feel appreciated and necessary, but Ron Washington went too far. Not to say that Ian Kinsler, Joe Nathan, Yu Darvish, and Oddibe McDowell didn’t deserve to make the ASG, but they were less deserving than others. More than anything else, what the heck with Greinke not making it? That booing would have at least taken some attention away from the Cano booing.

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      • KCDaveInLA says:

        Darn you, strike-through. Screwed up my attempt at wit. Seriously about the Greinke thing, though.

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      • You know that Zack is in the National League, right?

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      • KCDaveInLA says:

        What I’m saying is first, it’s ridiculous that the first-half leader in pitcher WAR for the NL was not selected (obviously to make room for Brian LaHair aka the new Ken Harvey), second, I wanted to see the drama that would unfold if he started the game.

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      • BX says:

        I count about 5 positions between NL and AL where the first half WAR leader was not </b. selected as an All-Star.

        NL SP (greinke)
        NL 2B (hill)
        NL RF (heyward)
        AL RF (reddick)
        AL DH (encarnacion)

        Of course there's an injury I could be missing.

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  5. Jimmy Wahl says:

    Or add a draft like in hockey. Top two total vote getters are captains and pick their starting rosters from the rest. Then the managers fill out the remaining roster.

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    • Brian says:

      That’s essentially what they do for the HR Derby.

      The All-Star game itself isn’t broken; it needs a true purpose to generate the excitement. Awarding HTA to the league that won the ASG is a bit clooky to say the least, but it’s better than just alternating HTA between the even/odd years.

      Unless someone can think of a better way to incentivise the players, the best method right now is to award HTA to the winning league.

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  6. Snowblind says:

    Make it more special by making it happen only once every 4 or 5 years. That way people will be more likely to vote for true talents with HOF potential, rather than players with one good season. Yes, it also increases the chances for name recognition (i.e. overrated players) to trump true talent, but I’d still make the tradeoff.

    – Scrap the one-All-Star-per-team bit.
    – If a player declines, their replacement spot is offered to the next highest vote total person.
    – Have voting only be in the ballparks, none of the online ballot stuffing; get votes from the people actually going to games in person. Say, in September of the previous season, to get the people who are die-hard enough to watch their teams out of contention as well as the people watching a pennant race.
    – Have the managers and coaches in the game be selected by the same committees that do the veteran committee selection for HOF voting, rather than just a function of who won the previous World Series. Again, this makes it more about honoring great managers rather than e.g. seeing some of the goofiness we got from LaRussa.
    – No WS home advantage or anything else determined by the game. Winning team splits the proceeds from the gate for the ASG 26 ways, to the charities of their players’ choices plus a charity chosen by the manager.
    – WS rotates between East, Central and West, in the home field of whatever team (between both the AL and NL version of that division) has the best overall record over the previous 5 years. In the bizarre case of a tie, extend to 10 years.
    – WS is played under NL rules. Allows a “safety valve” for more switches, compels them to play an actual game instead of cycling through relievers and DHs however they like. Also, the WS has been around longer than the DH, so this is an oblique way to nod towards that.

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    • 28 this year says:

      I am a Yankee fan and I can already see how those who go to the games being the votes that count as a terrible idea. Doing that, you would never see any Rays in the game not because they aren’t good, but because they dont have a fan base that attends games regularly. Also, that doesn’t represent who are fans of baseball, I live in the NY area but rarely go to games but I watch nearly every single game on tv, does that make me not capable of voting? I think voting by just those who go to games will exacerbate every large market/small market distinction issue.

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  7. Marver says:

    I think that the game should stay as it is — as in, the format used to select the players remains static — but that it’s up to the managers to actively try to assemble the truly best team for the purpose of winning a single game. No need to have a backup to the backup third baseman when you could actually improve your team by plucking Tony Campana for a pinch running appearance, or Brendan Ryan to field in the late innings.

    In short: if it matters, treat it like it matters. The problem with the current format isn’t that it matters, but that the managers still treat it as if it doesn’t.

    If, however, the game is returned to being an exhibition, I would advocate adding a few top prospects to each side to add to the intrigue. Who wouldn’t want to watch Dylan Bundy face Ryan Braun? I think that’d be awesome.

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    • Ryan C says:

      Nah – they have a futures game. If you want to see Bundy, you watch that game. If a guy isn’t in the show yet – he doesn’t get in the All-Star game. Come-on.

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  8. hailey says:

    I haven’t watched a all-star game in years so it’s not of interest to me. However, I think one vote per person at the ball park is the way to go if you have to have the starters picked by the fan.

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  9. Alex says:

    Why does it HAVE to change? I personally am not interested in it, but it generates a massive revenue, and the fans enjoy it.

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    • Marver says:

      Nowhere does he say it HAS to change. And Alex and others here are fans who clearly don’t really enjoy it…not that it’s even the relevant question (which is ‘what format would fans enjoy more’).

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  10. I wish the game would go back to being more competitive as well. The first thing I would do would be get rid of the stupid popularity contest because the best players from that year don’t start.

    Then, I would actually extend the break so that there was adequate rest so pitchers who start on Sunday could actually pitch in the game, not that everyone has to pitch but that way if Roy Halladay was pitching like he normally does and starts on Sunday, he could pitch in the game.

    I would also change the rules that Managers cannot select their own players. It’s annoying to me to see a manager to go to one of his relief guys who may not have even deserved to be an all star in the first place. I think that the manager’s players need to be selected by the players or the assistant coaches who aren’t from the same organization (and they cannot pick their players either).

    Lastly, I am in favor of changing the format of NL vs. AL as well. I don’t know if USA vs. the World is the correct answer or if it should be something like east coast vs. west coast but a change would be nice.

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    • ElJimador says:

      “I wish the game would go back to being more competitive as well.”

      In the 10 years since the AS game has determined home field advantage the NL has now scored 43 runs to the AL’s 41 with half of the games being decided by a single run and only 3 decided by more than 3. Good luck finding any previous 10 year run of All Star games that have been more competitive than that.

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  11. Spike says:

    I know it’s unlikely to happen, but the game needs to be scrapped altogether. Like you started to mention, it’s really just an obsolete relic from another era when it was about the opportunity to see all the great players on one night. Now, all you need is cable tv to see any player you want.

    Honestly, does anyone take anything from Verlander pitching to Kemp or Beltran? Who cares since the game has no real meaning?? HFA for the WS… please. What’s the difference from the alternating format they used to have??

    Keep the mid-season break in place but give *all* the players a real break from the 7 or 8 month grind they have to endure. I would rather see the futures game as the premier event anyway during the break.

    If an all-star game is really needed, do it a la the pro bowl after the WS concludes.

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  12. R M says:

    Honestly, both the MLB and NBA are set up to make money, not to be particularly interesting to the die-hard fan. Of course, NBA is way worse than MLB, but still…as long as the masses are pleased, they don’t care. I don’t think the ASG is any different. Its ratings were great, so why change it?

    There are so many things about the MLB format that are completely wacko, like salary caps and playoffs (that have been discussed so much I don’t need to go into it), that are about ticket sales rather than true competition. I’m a Red Sox fan, and they’re fun to watch, but I can’t believe some of these smaller market teams even have fans at all. It seems kind of masochistic to root for a team that’s screwed from the beginning.

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    • R M says:

      I kind of lost my train of thought half way through that post. Where I was going with that second part is, chances are if they haven’t made a real effort to correct those much more important issues, they’re not going to fix what’s not broken (from their perspective) in the all-star game. Now if lots of people start making a stink and they’re worried about ratings dropping, they’ll be on it like white on rice.

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    • Nick says:

      This year’s ratings were the lowest ever, I believe.

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      • phoenix2042 says:

        nope. one of the best actually, according to CBS and MLB. there is no way they mess with such a cash cow.

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      • Nick and Phoenix, it looks like there are very mixed reports coming back from the game. But Sports Media Watch, a very good trade publication, breaks down the numbers more thoroughly:

        After an increase in the overnights, final numbers for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hit a record-low for a third-straight year.

        The 2012 MLB All-Star Game drew a 6.8 final rating and 10.9 million viewers on FOX Tuesday night, down a tick in ratings and 1% in viewership from last year (6.9, 10.970M), and down 9% and 10%, respectively, from 2010 (7.5, 12.118M).

        Though down only slightly from last year, this year’s All-Star Game ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed ever. This is the third straight year the game has hit a record-low.

        Compared to other All-Star Games, Tuesday’s telecast drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than the NFL Pro Bowl (7.3, 12.498M). This is the third straight year the Pro Bowl has drawn more viewers than the MLB All-Star Game — a previously unheard-of proposition. Just three years ago, the MLB game topped its NFL equivalent by 66%.

        With that said, the MLB All-Star Game did outdraw the NBA All-Star Game on TNT (4.4, 7.070) and the NHL All-Star Game on NBC Sports Network (0.8, 1.317M).

        While the All-Star Game itself hit a record low, Monday’s Home Run Derby was up from last year. The telecast drew a 4.1 U.S. rating and 6.882 million viewers on ESPN, up 3% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.0, 6.686M), and up 3% and 7%, respectively, from 2010 (4.0, 6.418M).

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  13. Chris says:

    Go Crazy???

    Don’t mind if I do!!!!

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  14. NickC says:

    Make the season 163 games. Every NL team gets one win, every AL team gets one loss.

    When you get to the World Series, the team with the most wins gets home field advantage.

    Effectively making the All Star game a 1.5 game bump to the winning team, but preventing an 85 win team hosting a 95 win team.

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    • Marver says:

      Interesting…I wonder how often this would have affected home field in the past.

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    • jrogers says:

      Or, even more interesting, one win/loss for every player that a team has in the ASG. Imagine the Yankees or Rangers taking 5-6 losses because they didn’t win the game.

      Although, I guess players who are the only all-star from their team would then have reverse motivation for the game…

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  15. Mitchell says:

    Home field is way too important in the WS to be decided by teams who probably wont be in it (like Detroit cause of Verlander or the Giants). Its a crime that St. Louis had home field last year and I think it largely cost the Rangers a title, regardless of how game 6 went. It should be based on record or head to head or run differential or something that actually has to do with the teams in the series.

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    • MrKnowNothing says:

      Except the Giants have an excellent shot at winning the West and once you make it to the playoffs it’s basically a crap shoot on if you get to the WS.

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  16. Phantom Stranger says:

    Wake up, the game is never going to be competitive again. The stars are making too much money now and all of them view the break as a vacation from their “real” jobs. A few of them seriously try in the homerun derby, but even in that some of them clearly take it as a joke.

    If the game was serious, you wouldn’t have press on the field right before the game and the mega-stars would play all nine innings.

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  17. James says:

    Going off on a bit of a tangent here, but the following is a bit…false:

    “Of course, that means that Verlander’s unwillingness to change speeds cost his league the right to home field advantage in the World Series.”

    I would remind you and the readers that the American League did not score a single run. Verlander could have struck out 6 straight batters in 2 innings, and they still would have lost, so please dial down the hyperbole a bit.

    On other point that supports your larger argument but doesn’t support this little allegation is that it’s very likely that other players (i.e. position players) were essentially giving the same sort of effort that Verlander was; it just wasn’t as obvious because it’s not as easy to measure the type of swing/mindset of the hitter as it is to measure the speed of a fastball.

    I understand your frustration, and I share it, but this post feels like scapegoating Verlander. Let’s be realistic: this has been widespread and going on for sometime now.

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    • James says:

      *another point

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    • Sure, I was being hyperbolic. But I think the larger points stands. The players treat this as an exhibition, and then they get penalized by the tie-in to the World Series. Clearly, the players aren’t giving max effort, and they almost certainly aren’t expected to.

      The World Series tie-in should be eliminated for that reason. Absolutely no one believes that the result of the All-Star Game is a true measure of a league’s worth.

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      • B N says:

        Is it a better measure of their worth than a coin flip? Or the interleague record? Considering we’re comparing the all star game against a purely random system, why do we care? I mean, we have two possibilities:

        1. The all-star game is completely meaningless == The winners of the all star game are purely random, making it equivalent to a coin flip.

        2. The all-star game is loosely correlated with league quality == The all star game is BETTER than a coin flip, if we care about the best league having an advantage.

        3. The all-star game is inversely correlated with league quality == The best league tends to loose the all star game for some reason

        I think we can almost all agree that either #1 or #2 is true. So… what? The all star game is either a coin flip or better than coin flip. Sounds fine to me.

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  18. Tim says:

    1) There is no such thing as a 98mph meatball (unless you are Matt Anderson)

    2) Tying the homefield advantage to the ASG is a stupid kneejerk reaction by Selig to the tie game debacle last decade.

    3)Detroit has a better shot at going to the WS than the Yankees because they has beaten the Yankees in the playoffs the last 2 times they met and they have an easy division that they will run down as long as they keep Elmon at DH and Rayburn away from 2b.

    4) The fan vote has been is and always will be preposterous. Deal with it. However, there are too many guys on the squad…the idea that they have to choose 1 guy from each team cheapens the ASG and baseball in general. You want to have an unwritten rule that you try and get as many DESERVING guys from a variety of teams in there? Fine. But the days of Brad Ausmus and every marginal scrub like him being an AllStar should never have been or should continue.

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  19. BlackOps says:

    It’s going to take a manager who has the balls to play all of his best players for the entire game. Until then, it’s about feelings and money. Except for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

    God Bud Selig is a tool.

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  20. Was there a follow up question regarding what pitch (type and location) Sandoval hit the bases loaded triple?

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  21. Joey says:

    MLB is way out of touch with the fans on the All Star Game. Record low ratings this year for television for the event. People just don’t care about the ASG like they used to even a decade ago.

    The game starts too late. It should not be a late night game that starts at 8pm EST. By the time the intros and commercials are over most people are comatose before the first pitch is thrown. Are players vampires that can’t be out in the sun for a day game? Put the ASG earlier on a weekend or something. Though I’m sure for the ratings it didn’t help that Verlander ended the suspense of the game in the first inning.

    Everything seems so routine and cookie-cutter. Look at how incredible the Fenway 100th Anniversary celebration was this year. That ceremony was the level of what the All Star Game should be every year. The ASG ceremonies and intros just seem like people going through the motions and getting this thing over because they are bored. The production seemed lazy.

    Get rid of the ASG deciding World Series home advantage. Stop requiring that every team have a representative. Fix the ballot stuffing or make the ASG selection done by an appointed committee. And go back to it being a fun exhibition where the best players get to show off their skills to a national audience. Not this Frankenstein event where fans are voting for players from 30 different teams to battle out who of the two pennant winners get home field advantage for the World Series. Unless the Tigers make it to the WS this year I doubt that the American League team in the WS is going to fondly remember this year’s ASG.

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  22. Train says:

    There needs to be a rule about how many words one can include in a comment on this site. When I’m drunk I can only follow along for

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  23. Jason says:

    Sure, all-star games are meant for “the fans.” But speaking as a Detroit fan, I’d rather have no Tigers in the game and just let them have the 3 days to rest. I’m perfectly fine with the other AL teams having all-star players, taking on the extra travel, etc.

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  24. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    I think every team should get a guy who is voted on by his home teams fans only. . That way each team’s most popular player would play in every all star game and T.V. rating’s go way up in the smaller cities!!. Afterwards the manager of each team can pick more injury free guys until he has a minimum of 10 pitchers and a minimum of two players at each position. Roster size would depend on how many guys are needed to get the minimum of two position players and ten pitchers for the team. If a player is to injured to play then the second most voted on player from his team would replace him. This way the guys than fans most want to see would be in the All Star team, Not guys like Ryan Cook. Does anyone think Athletics fans went out of their way to watch Ryan Cook pitch in the all Star game? However, Reddick or Cespedes would have gotten more attention in Oakland.

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  25. payroll says:

    1 vote per fan? How does that work

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    • Baltar says:

      I wrote a comment on another article about a week ago that the one-fan, one-vote rule could be managed basically by IP address. Sure, there are ways to cheat, and I am aware that the network administrator for some large company could generate thousands of votes if he were willing to risk his job by wasting his time and the company’s computer resources to do so.
      Yes, there are problems–people without computers would have to borrow one from somebody who doesn’t vote (library or a friend).
      All those negatives considered, it would be far, far fairer than the current system, and probably the best that could practically be done.
      OK, trolls, here’s your opportunity to nitpick again.

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  26. Ivan Grushenko says:

    I think the game is fine and all of you should stop whining. Watch it if you want or don’t watch it if you don’t want. Sure Ryan Cook probably isn’t one of the 68 best players in baseball, but as an A’s fan I liked that he did well in the game. It’s a fun experience if you have the right attitude. I don’t care about HFA in the World Series. Having the ASG winner decide that is no worse than alternating years.

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  27. TKDC says:

    Move it to 25 players and get rid of the one player per team rule. Always use a DH. Bring about 11 pitchers and 14 position players. Have the manager and league pick the team, with only the top 3 fan vote getters as auto-entries. The fan vote can be used as a tie-breaker for similar players in other situations. Make it known that the game will continue until it is over and encourage teams to have guys pitch 2+ innings each to start the game (3 best pitchers going two-ish innings). Get rid of the press in the dugout. And to make the teams care, I have the perfect idea. F’in cash. Give the winners a pool of 2-3 million (split up based on performance by the commish’s office – I know this will get blasted if anyone reads down this far). Losing team gets $20,000 each for showing up.

    If guys stand to make $200,000 or more by helping their teams win, they will try hard. This is America, cash is king.

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    • Baltar says:

      Wow! I hate everyone of your suggested changes.

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      • TKDC says:

        There’s no way you could possiby “hate” always having the DH or getting rid of the press in the dugout unless you have a mental disorder.

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      • Baltar says:

        OK, you got me. I hate every one of your suggested changes, especially always having the DH, except one–getting the press out of the dugout.

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  28. Metsfan says:

    Actually I quite like the idea of having captains pick teams like in the NHL ASG. Keep all voting and manager/player picks just as it is, just let two captains choose the composition of the teams. And you setup the “draft” about the same as well. Before any bench players are chosen in the draft, the captains have to fill the starting positions first. If you’ve noticed, for the most part the last two years at the NHL ASG, the teams still end up being largely one conference vs the other. The captains have rarely pulled players from teams from the other conference. That I think was the idea to have a Sidney Crosby have to face Evgeni Malkin. But Verlander facing Miggy would be great!

    This would eliminate the ASG counting towards home field which i agree is ludicrous.

    And the idea of each team choosing say 1 minor leaguer each to get a great experience like that would be great. Yes, they have their futures game, but what an experience that would be for the player.

    It really can’t hurt to change up the ASG. And think of the extra pub that would be generated by televising the “draft”. It would be a part of fan-fest, they would sell tix to it as well. Probably get some decent TV ratings as well.

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    • Baltar says:

      Great! Instead of teams stuffing ballots, we would now have 2 guys picking all their buddies.
      There’s a chance nobody would watch that game. I certainly wouldn’t.

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  29. Hurtlockertwo says:

    How on earth does Adam Dunn become an all star?? He’s on a pace to set the MLB record for strikeouts in a season (maybe by a large margin) is barely hitting .200. I don’t care that he hits HR’s and walk alot, I don’t want him on my team.

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  30. dodgers1981 says:

    Give equal amount of ASG ballots to each of the 30 stadiums. i.e 1M/per

    Limit internet voting to one vote per email address – (I know, some idiot would open 1,000 yahoo accounts – so what!)

    Manager for each league’s team is from the highest winning team after 81 games. Flip coin for tie.

    Coaches are from the leaders of the other two divisions. Flip a coin for ties.

    Limit the number of all stars from any one team to four (including pitchers).

    Manager and coaches of AS team pick all but the 8 voted in by the fans and the 8 voted in by the players.

    Limit team to 28 players including 8 pitchers.

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  31. Name says:

    We only need to make a few simple, and relatively small changes to the All-Star Game.

    1. ROBOTS

    2. …with jetpacks

    3. replace “baseball” with “capture the flag”

    4. replace “flag” with “bomb”

    5. bomb is controlled by fan vote

    So, you see the fans still get to vote, the event still has a forced connection to real baseball, everyone is entertained, and there is still plenty of advertising space for MLB to rake in cash. Everyone wins.

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  32. Juan Chapa says:

    I hate to say this, but the All-Star game was made (in 1933) for the
    fans (not the players), to get a chance to see stars of both leagues
    showcasing their talents. The fans select the starters, the managers
    should select the reserves (with each manager selection excluding
    players from his own team). The players should do what they get
    paid to do, PLAY. Most fans are too ignorant to boycott baseball,
    in response to all the greed exchanges between the players union
    and the owners. The fans get changes shoved down their throats.
    We’ve got DH’s in only one league, a World Series starting in a
    National League city for the third time in a row, God knows how
    many expansions in the last twenty years, power hitters with
    a .160 average, power pitchers with a 6.42 ERA. And, everyone
    going around patting each other on their backs for their
    delusional achievments. Kind of reminds me of Congress and
    how they have managed the Federal Debt.

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  33. LionoftheSenate says:

    What a cry baby you sound like.

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  34. Mackey says:

    Changes that I like: #1 Cash incentives for the players. Use something similar to WAR to evaluate how much each player contributed to the Win. #2 Allow only 1 online vote per fan. #3 Remove the one player from each team requirement.

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  35. Mackey says:

    Change that I’d like to see: (A) Use straight up fantasy player rankings to determine the All-Stars. Whether they use OPS or BA it would let the best performers get into the AS game. Washed up veterans wouldn’t get in by default. (B) This last one isn’t a serious suggestion, just for fun. Let fans online or via text determine pitcher and batter changes live. Sort of like that silly Idol TV show.

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  36. Randy says:

    Not that this really adds anything to the conversation, but this is the first year I can remember that I did not watch even a single pitch of the Yankees/Rangers vs. the Giants. Oops, I mean the All-Star game. I don’t think you can completely take away the fan vote, but there definitely needs to be a limit on how many players from one team can appear.

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  37. ElJimador says:

    So 1 pitcher takes the approach that it should still more of an exhibition even with WS home field advantage on the line and for this reason the All Star game itself should be scrapped? Wouldn’t an easier fix just be for AL managers to remember to not start Verlander in the future if that’s going to be his mindset?

    Better yet, why don’t we just ignore what Verlander said entirely, since there’s nothing new in a starting pitcher humping up in an AS game knowing he only has to go an inning or 2 and since the results of this “exhibition” approach in the aggregate are probably no different than if they all approached it the same as a regular season game.

    Really I don’t see the problem here.

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  38. Paul says:

    I do know that in Kansas City the ASG was big deal, not because of the events, prestige, or economic impact, but rather because according to talk radio hosts- who never say anything that is not true -every single Royals fan really enjoyed the booing of Robinson Cano… in pre-Batting Practice Competition batting practice, in the Batting Practice Competition, at the parade before the ASG, before the ASG, during the ASG, on his way to the airport, walking to the gate at the airport, as his plane took off from the airport…

    So in a town known for being courteous and respectful, for the entire city to be so captivated by the activity of booing a player, I think we’re onto something. Doesn’t this prove that what fans really want is to boo or otherwise injury the pride, or perhaps even physically injure the players (just a little) on a rival team (or maybe because he likes jellybeans).

    My proposal is to have a boo-meter maybe using twitter, and allow the fans to bring tomatoes or some other soft fruit into the stadium to throw at players. First player to cry has his team eliminated from post-season no matter what their record at the end of the season.

    Because all that matters is we are fans, and we are entitled to get exactly what we want at all times.

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  39. Shaun Catron says:

    Or maybe Justin Verlander struggled because he was facing an allstar lineup with above average hitters who love fastballs.

    He usually struggles against the Yankees too when Gerry Davis isn’t giving him a 20 foot strikezone.

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