Monday, July 15, 2013


I like the All-Star pregame pageantry better than the game itself. The introductions, the national anthem, the flyover. Once the game gets started I start to lose interest. Only when the true superstars are batting or pitching do I really care. The managers have the thankless job of trying to work almost everyone into the game while trying to win the game at the same time. Fans select the starting eight, plus the final team member. Often these choices are based more on popularity than the best player. Then the manager must select at least one player from every team, which leaves out even more good players. Adam Wainwright and Justin Verlander, two of the best pitchers in baseball, pitched on Sunday and will be unavailable for the game. Fans want to see their team's player play, but the manager, usually from a team in World Series contention, wants to win to get the home field advantage. After Brian McCann won the 2011 all-star game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was so grateful that he awarded McCann with a spot on this year's all-star team.

It's hard for any all-star game to be significant these days. There are too many injuries in football for the Pro Bowl to be significant. NBA players want to score and dunk and put on a show in the all-star game, so defense takes a back seat. Comparatively, the MLB puts on the most competitive game by far. While most players will not be going to the World Series, I don't think they want to be embarrassed on national TV. Great pitchers are facing great hitters, so someone will get the short end of the stick. Most players know that it's easier to get hurt when playing to not get hurt. What sets the MLB all-star game back is the modern day placating of players, trying to get everyone in the game.

To make the game more watchable, should only the greatest stars play? Derek Jeter has been out all season. Should he play, since he's been an all-star so many times before? What about a great player who's having a lousy year? Most fans want to see the superstars. They (like me) have no idea who's having a good year and who isn't.

How can the MLB All-Star game be fixed? After Sunday's Braves game I watched a replay of last year's Celebrity Softball Game. Rob knows that I love those things. Not the same without Kenny Mayne.

Some will be happy to know that Braves pitching changes will be coming sooner than later. Alex Wood was sent down to make a start or two at Gwinnett before coming back next week to take Medlen's place in the rotation. Beachy started for Gwinnett last night and will also be ready soon.

But remember, this weekend the Braves were playing one of the best-hitting teams in baseball. With a six game lead at the all-star break, what more should the Braves be doing? Almost every team would gladly trade pitching staffs with the Braves.

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