MLB's All-Star Fiasco: It's Time To Change the Rules

Brad ZakSenior Analyst IJuly 16, 2008

For all the ridicule about Major League Baseball's All-Star Game being a popularity contest, 2008 will be remembered as a game decided by the Ugly Betty's of the league.

The final run was scored by Justin Morneau, as Kevin Youkilis sipped Red Bull. The final RBI was produced by Michael Young, as Derek Jeter posed for pictures on the top step of the dugout, and Carlos Guillen manned third base as Alex Rodriguez was halfway to Maddona's apartment.

The National League relied on the arm of Aaron Cook for three innings, as Edinson Volquez sat and watched. 

Ultimately, the game was decided by the also-rans of the league. The starters accounted for less than 40 percent of the at-bats in the game, as players such as Joe Mauer were relegated to one at-bat, as Dioner Navarro received four at-bats.

Now, I'm not saying guys such as Cristian Guzman and Corey Hart shouldn't get their time, but when it gets down to the biggest spots, fans want to see their favorite players.

Fans don't come to Yankee games to see Wilson Betemit provide Derek Jeter with a night off. They want the captain in there every time. 

For instance, last night, with the bases loaded and no one out for the American League, the trio of Grady Sizemore, Evan Longoria, and Justin Morneau failed to plate a single run. Wouldn't it have been more exciting if Josh Hamilton, Manny Ramirez, or Alex Rodriguez had been given the opportunity in that spot.

The most logical solution for this problem would be to allow position players to re-enter the game after the regular nine innings, in order to provide some late-game drama.

The fans voted to see the starters in the game. It's only a given they'd rather be seeing them in the most crucial part of the game.

Those who define themselves as "baseball purists" will completely reject this notion because it would compromise the rules of the game. However, the game is already played in a little-league style that lets everyone play, and Major League Baseball already allows an exhibition game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series.

Major League Baseball's decisions are propelled by possible revenue because why else would every team get a representative, even if they don't deserve one, or would Bud Selig grant home-field advantage to the winning league if he wasn't just after increased television ratings.

By allowing the stars to come back out in extra innings, it may convince some people to remain tuned into the game, rather than just turning it off because they are tired and have been stretched thin by an already listless game.

Until a change like this takes place, keep expecting to see the All-Star Game decided by the Michael Youngs of the world, six innings after it should have been completed.