MLB All-Star Game: 5 Changes That Have to Be Made
Whether it describes their personality, fighting style, or both, the nickname can be a distinct feature of any fighter.
It is almost required for them to have one, and these 10 fighters not only have some of the very best, but they also have the most intimidating nicknames.
Every fighter brings a certain level of danger, and while they don't come with a hazard symbol, they do come with a nickname, and it's their for the same reason.
Is It an Exhibition?
After the fiasco in Milwaukee in which the game ended in a tie, MLB decided to give the game meaning by having it determine which league gets home field advantage in the World Series (which is another article in itself for how World Series home field advantage should be determined).
However, by giving the game meaning, nothing in how the game is handled was changed to reflect that. Rules weren't modified and how players are selected and used during the game are just two examples of this.
Baseball needs to make a final determination; is it an exhibition or does it mean something? Once they can fully decide which it is, then they can make the following changes to reflect that.
I'm going to assume that baseball will stick with the "All-Star Game means something," so that's what the following five suggestions will be based on.
Not Every Team Needs to Be Represented
When the game was an exhibition, every team deserved to have a player represented. This allowed for fans of another team or the other league a chance to see every team's best player.
However, now that the game means something, does the last place team in the entire league really have a player that deserves to be on the All-Star team?
Occasionally there will be a stand-out player from a dead last team, but usually they don't.
I would hate to see home field advantage in the World Series be determined by some pitcher or hitter chosen from a last place team solely because that team needed to be represented.
Also, by having each team needing to be represented, it almost guarantees a much better and deserving player will get snubbed.
The game's best players should be used to determine who gets home field advantage, regardless of every team being represented.
Players Need to Play the Whole Game
Back in the day, position players played the entire game with pitchers seeing limited innings (which I do agree with).
Today, you're lucky if the starting third baseman is still in the game in the third inning.
This has to drastically change. If the game means something I want Albert Pujols playing the whole game, not being replaced in the third inning and then that player being replaced in the seventh.
As for pitchers, I understand why they pitch limited innings, however, the pitchers don't need to be changed if they threw one pitch, let them stay out there for "normal" work. Let them pitch a full inning (relievers) or at least three (for starters).
Managers also need to manage like they would a regular season game. Be prepared in case of extra innings, so they don't want to blow through their entire pitching staff in seven innings.
The goal is to win the game, not be sure everyone plays. This isn't Little League, it's the big leagues!
Get Rid of Fan Voting
As I mentioned earlier today, fan voting needs to go away.
The fans simply vote for their team, their favorite players or the most popular players. You even have injured players who play less than half of their team's games in the first two months of the season leading their position in votes.
The goal is to have the players having the best first half of the season in the All-Star Game, not the players near the end of their careers batting under .200 simply because the fans want to honor them.
There is no perfect way to handle the voting because having managers, players or even baseball writers vote would still result in better players being snubbed but it would result in a better starting lineup than anything the fans come up with.
However, there also needs to be some kind of minimum production (top five in OPS for example) that the players/managers/whoever use to judge who belongs. I would hate to see whoever votes resort to popularity or intangibles to determine the roster, it should still showcase the first half's best players.
Require Minimum Games Played by Each Player
How many times have you seen a player who was injured for the majority of the first half of the season be voted onto the All-Star game?
Joe Mauer this season has played in nine total games and yet is in second place for American League catchers in the All-Star voting.
A player to qualify to be on the All-Star roster should play in a minimum of half his team's games. I would prefer the cut-off be three-fourths of the games though. This will ensure the player is actually having an All-Star worthy season and didn't get in because of his name or his past success.
Have the DH in All All-Star Games
Right now, the rule is if the All-Star game is in a National League stadium, there is no DH but the DH is used if the game is held in an American League Stadium.
In my opinion, this gives an advantage to the National League every year.
It removes a player every other year that the American League can use (or causes a player like David Ortiz to actually have to play in the field).
However, the National League never loses a similar player in any year and they actually gain a player when the game is moved to the American League stadiums (allows them to basically fill the DH role with any player they want).
Who wants to see the pitcher hit with men in scoring position with a team down a run with home field advantage on the line?
Now, who wants to see Joey Votto as the DH because Albert Pujols is starting at first base, or to see David Ortiz batting in a NL park without the vision of him playing first base.
So do you agree? Is there anything else you would change, keeping in mind this is only for if the game continues to be used to determine home field advantage. I'd love to see the game itself ended and just name players as All-Stars instead but that won't happen because the league would lose money.