2011 MLB All Star Game Matters, Just Not to the Players or Teams

Phil GardnerContributor IIIJuly 11, 2011

Brian Cashman has been known to discourage his players from going to the All Star game
Brian Cashman has been known to discourage his players from going to the All Star gameJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Bud Selig has seen to it that the All-Star game should matter; he just hasn’t managed to convince the players and organizations of that.

At last count, 83 different players had been elected to the All-Star game. Many who were originally elected to the team won’t be present for Tuesday’s game. Some of them have legitimate injuries, while others are choosing to skip the game and rest up some aches and pains. Other players are being protected by MLB’s strict rules regarding starting pitchers and the game.

Whatever the reasons, many players just don’t seem driven to attend the game.

Today, CC Sabathia was an All-Star just long enough for people to realize he had pitched today and they would have to choose somebody else again. I don’t think it was even a consideration for him, as he had to leave the ballpark and head to the airport to make his flight to the Bahamas

Even position players are holding themselves out.

Derek Jeter notched five hits, including his 3,000th career hit on Saturday, and he also played in Sunday’s game. But he’s too hurt to consider playing in the game over three million fans elected him to start in. Mariano Rivera is also sitting out the game despite earning the save in Saturday’s game.

I know that many players are legitimately hurt, but when was the last time a player reached this point in the season without some aches and pains?

For the Yankees, nobody should be surprised that they’re skipping the game. Their GM Brian Cashman has even gone so far as to encourage his players to skip the game and the Home Run Derby.

Apparently, a Home Run Derby wrecks your swing for a month, and playing two or three innings of an All-Star game is just too much to ask from the team with the biggest fanbase in baseball.

Still, the Yankees' lack of participation in the game should at least be surprising. Seeing as how the game matters for home-field advantage, you’d think the Yankees would want every opportunity to secure that for themselves. It’s been a long time since the Yankees took the field for a season in which the expectation was anything aside from a world championship.

Instead, they’re happy to let the rest of the league determine that.

Selig may have made the game matter, but he hasn’t conveyed that message to the teams or the organizations.

There’s a cost that comes along with the lackluster attitude exhibited by the Yankees and other players and organizations. The fans are not getting the product they wanted to see.

Already in Arizona, there’s been a decline on the value for the tickets. With every star that opts out citing an injury and is replaced by a Scott Rolen, there seems to be less interest. Ticket values are already estimated to be down 47 percent.

It’s been obvious for years that the All-Star game is broken. It’s up to Bud Selig and his MLB front office staff to figure out how to make the game really matter. Not matter on paper, not matter for the playoff picture, but honest to goodness matter. They need to make fans believe in the game again, and they need to restore it to the levels of anticipation and excitement it once held.

Maybe he should start with making the players excited to be a part of it again.