Almost In Defense Of...The MLB All-Star Game

July 01, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Adam Blank

Originally, this post was to be titled War Criminal: The MLB All-Star Game. I was going to go on a glorious tirade about how I hated what the All-Star game has become. I was going to rant about the stupidity of making it "count." I was going to seethe with rage at the online ballot stuffing and the idiot fans having the right to vote at all. Like the Grinch who had just stolen what little joy was left to be had in the game of baseball, I looked upon my wonderful, awful post with a venomous smile and a black heart. Then, something happened...

Maybe my heart grew three sizes. Maybe the shots of whiskey caught up with me. Whatever it was, I realized my arguments about the All-Star Game were all wrong. So very wrong...

I've bolded my original arguments. Afterwards, I ripped them to shreds like I was Professor Punday grading my paper on Structuralism.

The pennant winner of the league winning the All-Star Game should not get home field advantage in the World Series; that honor should go to the team with the best record.

It didn't work like that before Fox got their greedy hands fan outrage over the 2002 tie convinced Bud Selig to change the Midsummer Classic. Before 2003, home field advantage in the World Series alternated yearly between the American and National leagues. Is awarding home field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star game fair? Not really. But it's just as ridiculous and arbitrary as giving it to the National League on odd numbered years and the American league on evens.

Besides, giving home filed advantage to the team with the best record isn't without its share of problems. There are some weak divisions out there. Should some lucky team get rewarded in the World Series for playing more games against mediocre teams? That doesn't seem right either.

The vast majority of those participating in the All-Star game won't be in the World Series, so why should they have a hand in deciding home field advantage?

The All-Star Game takes place in July, and no teams have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet. And while an Orioles/Nationals World Series is a long shot, I doubt that their representatives in the All-Star Game are going to be so downtrodden that they half-ass it in front of millions of spectators. Plus, most players have provisions in their contracts ensuring they get hefty, performance-based bonuses for participating in the game.

Fans are out of touch and vote for players based solely on past glory. Also, teams with larger fan bases have an unfair advantage.

While I'll concede that players from larger markets tend to get more votes, baseball fans are smarter than ever before and tend to pick the right people about 70%* of the time. When that doesn't happen, players, coaches and managers get to have their say as well. Also, since each team has to have at least one representative on the All-Star team, an otherwise overlooked player on a shitty and/or small market team will have his moment in the sun.

Is the All-Star game selection process perfect? Hell no. It's full of ballot-stuffing and electronic vote rigging. It ignores merit and makes it a popularity contest. It gives those in charge the ability to make decisions against the will of the people and it ignores the wants and needs of citizens in sparsely populated areas. It's everything we've come to expect from American democracy!

Supposedly, the purpose of making the game "count" was to make fans happy after the 2002 game ended in a tie. Yet teams still go through pitchers and position players with reckless abandon, basically ensuring they'll run out of players and have to end the game in a tie sometime in the future.

I can't refute this. The commissioner is a moron.

All-Star voting ends tonight at 11:59 ET.

*statistic extracted from my rectum.