Creating Meaning Out of Chaos

John Buck was calling the pitches at the 2010 all-star game when Brian McCann hit the game deciding 3-run double in the 7th inning. What does John Buck have to do with anything? John Buck represents what is wrong with Major League Baseball’s mid-summer classic.

It probably wasn’t John Buck’s fault that Brian McCann whacked a double giving the National League home field advantage in the 2010 World Series. It also probably didn’t matter to John Buck who was playing for the perennially mediocre Toronto Blue Jays last season. He was calling pitches in a game that he probably didn’t expect to be in before the season had started.

Bud Selig’s attempt to inject more life into the slowly dying lure of all-star games should be applauded but this isn’t right.

Related: Get Rid of ‘Em

Baseball’s all-star game is flooded with an excess of players and a need to get each one into the game. Those guys deserve it. They deserve the opportunity to play.

It’s the World Series teams who don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve what the all-star game now stands for. The most important game is decided in the most chaotic way possible by a majority of players who couldn’t care less. At least one player has to be chosen from each team and they could possibly be the most important player in the game. Most important, not most valuable.

The all-star game is a circus but it’s still a good circus. All the best players in the world are put on one field to showcase their talent. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that.

I don’t mind seeing managers struggle to find playing time for position players while having to protect the arms of pitchers.

I can’t bear watching mangers try to organize a circus all while facing the pressure of winning a potentially very meaningful game.

The all-star game is played run more like a high school PE class yet the implications are more like a World Series title. Oh wait, it is a World Series title.

The math doesn’t add up.

Baseball is the one sport that doesn’t have to worry about their players giving a full effort. Baseball is the one sport where players will give their full effort because it’s almost impossible not to. Just ask Pete Rose.

All-star games are made to be fun but the never-ending drive for higher ratings has attempted to create real meaning where there isn’t meant to be any. Throwing together 50 guys for one game and telling them that the outcome of a world championship could depend on them is incredibly illogical.

In the end, you have 3rd and 4th string “all-stars” playing in crunch time. John Buck could be behind the plate not getting on his knees to block a ball with a guy on third base with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. No, that didn’t actually didn’t happen but it seems like something Mr. Buckaroo could pull off.

All-star games are going the way of MySpace but there are other ways to fix it. Since 2003, when the home-field advantage rule was implemented, ratings have not increased in the slightest. The ratings have fluctuated from a 9.5 in 2003 to an all-time low of 7.5 in 2010. No more, no less.

To put that into perspective, ratings throughout the 90’s never reached below an 11.8 and were as high as 17.4.

Obviously, this ploy hasn’t done anything to improve the all-star game’s ratings. The controversy and buzz generated from the rule still isn’t bringing fans to watch the game.

This failed attempt to boost ratings has to be scrapped. They aren’t letting the people who should be deciding their fate do the deciding for themselves. The all-star game may only decide one game but it’s one game that the team’s playing in have virtually no control over. Home-field advantage should be determined by how the respective teams have played throughout the year.

Contract rosters, change the way players are chosen, pay the players, drop the fan vote. It is anyone’s guess on what the best way to fix the all-star game is. I have no idea.

All I know is that home-field advantage should not be on the line at the annual mid-summer classic.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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20 Responses to Creating Meaning Out of Chaos

  1. tophatal says:

    No truth to the rumor then that should tonight’s game end in a tie rather than playing extra innings ___ Selig’s edict will be to have the players from each roster spoon each other ? I mean after the fiasco of 02 what else could go wrong ? Oh I know Frank McCourt turns up with bucket in hand beggin’ for money !

  2. blackstonevalleykettlebells says:

    The good news is you remembered who won last year’s all star game! Do you remember who won the pro bowl? nba or nhl all star game? I like that it matters a little, but as you stated by having John Buck playing it cheapens it. I love watching Halliday pitch, but he’s played in both leagues. Interleague play has cannabilized this game.

  3. Solid post. Good stuff here.

  4. Chirs I could not agree with you more. The all-star game for MLB and the fact that it decides homefield advantage is a complete joke. It is just another reason why Bud Selig and his close to 20 year tenure as baseball’s commissioner is an on going comedy of errors, pun intended. Both need to be removed from the game.

  5. Tim Herb says:

    I agree with some of your points, Chris. Good post as usual. I think that the contraction of the rosters, the refining of the vote, and revisiting the homefield advantage incentive are all valid points that I find hard to argue.

    The ratings, if you notice, starting in 1994, took a steady dip. After the work stoppage, fans felt betrayed, and with the steroid era ending a few years back, home run numbers dipped, and fans lost interest, whether it was hating the players for doing it, or being bored by small ball.

    It probably is a little too much to put on the shoulders of a group of players that, for the most part, have never played with one another before. Baseball is so unpredictable at times, and that’s something that the 162 game season seems to balance out.

    I’ll be watching, but it’s a format that needs refining, that’s for sure!

  6. Alex says:

    Chris, I agree with everything you have to say here. My only tiny gripe is that as more cable channels/netfilx/hulu/etc. options are available, it is increasingly harder to acheive a given rating. I Love Lucy was a huge hit, because the only alternative was a black screen. Nice article.

  7. kain27 says:

    Great post, I’d have to agree on a lot of what you brought up. The interesting factor is the ratings after all that’s what Bud Selig really cares about when it comes to that. One point that has been brought up was about remembering who won last years game. I certainly remember last years game, it makes things more interesting for the game alone. The winning league getting home field is not something i particularly like, given the success of the AL in the All-Star games over the last decade.

    One interesting fact to bring up however is in the last eight years since it was implemented the World Series Champions have been split. 4 NL (Marlins, Cardinals, Phillies, Giants), 4 AL (Red Sox x2, White Sox, Yankees).

    Either way i still love watching this game regardless of the “added bonus” put towards it. Looking forward to it tonight!

  8. toosoxy says:

    Nice thoughts- but they can’t drop the fan vote- because that’s kind of why they do it now. Fans vote and that makes them extra invested and more likely to watch/care about the game. That makes advertisers care, which makes Bud Selig care… sad but true.

  9. The Home Field Advantage makes the ASG a bit more interesting, but still, it’s a bit ridiculous to have possibly a championship decided on an exhibition game.

  10. Pingback: Home Run Derby & All-Star Game, K-Swiss CEO change? and USA soccer talk. « Sports Cloud

  11. JT says:

    The bottom line is money, or at least the love of money and the delusion that home field advantage will create more money. I agree that having players who will have nothing to do with the World Series determine home field advantage is crazy.

  12. chappy81 says:

    You know what I’d like to see is the players that the fans voted in finish the game instead of start it. Don’t you think it would be more enjoyable to see the BEST players finishing and deciding the game in innings 6-9?

    • Chris Ross says:

      It would be more enjoyable to see the best players finish the game. But then again you have a another dilemma with having no names start the game and no one will watch their boring 30 minute introductions just to see Carlos Quentin. It would keep fans tuned in and I think they need to change something to have at least some of the best players playing late in games.

      • chappy81 says:

        That’s a good point on not having any big names for the lame introductions, but honestly I barely watch those intros anyway, and I’m sure there’s a few others like myself. I usually flip channels until the actual game starts, and even if I miss some of the early parts I don’t usually care.

        I think personally I’ve never been to a live game and seen the first pitch sitting in my seat for what it’s worth.

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  14. Bheise says:

    it makes total sense that the least important game of the season decides where the most important game of the season is played… or you know, not at all

  15. tophatal says:

    Well the All Star Game once again proves to be another non-event ! A 5-1 shellacking of the AL by the NL all but suggests how redundant the event has become and that’s even with what’s said to be at stake .

    Bud Selig should stage intervention and place the owners in center field and have the fans stone their lying as#es to death ! First up ought to be the Dodgers’ Frank McCourt to be followed by Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon of the Mets ! Ain’t nothing wrong in seeing those mother fuc##ers get their come up-pance once and for all ! But that may well be way too much to ask of a moron such as Bud Selig to begin with !

    tophatal …..

  16. Great stuff as always, CR.

    I’m ashamed to say, even I didn’t watch the game, making it probably the first one EVER that I haven’t watched.

  17. tophatal says:


    Will this be the Giants’ uniform for the rest of their season as worn by closer Brian Wilson at the ESPY’s ? Is he a switch hitter or simply coming out for The Village People revival ? His man-card now comes into question for sure !

  18. Nice post. Good writing, substance, and analysis. I’ll definitely be back.

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