Creating Meaning Out of Chaos
July 12, 2011 20 Comments
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.
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.
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