This week marks the "midseason break," if you will, of America's pastime — the MLB All-Star Game.
Now, I at least find some excitement in the MLB All-Star Game, and I will watch it. That's an improvement over the joke the NFL calls the Pro Bowl. At the same time, the Home Run Derby is a little more exciting than the All-Star Game itself, mainly because of a few silly rules Bud Selig's bestowed upon the midsummer classic.
See, after the debacle in 2002, Selig enacted this silly rule that the league who won the All-Star Game would have home-field advantage in the World Series. It's silly, because we also have this rule that every team needs to be represented at the All-Star Game.
My understanding of the All-Star Game (and every other All-Star Game that has existed) is that it should be for the best of the best in that given year. You've got some players on these All-Star teams who really aren't the "best of the best." This year, for example, I don't know that Huston Street and Bryan LaHair are really deserving of a spot. They've had good seasons, don't get me wrong, but I can think of five pitchers better than Street before you can even count to five.
And this is every year. Back in 2005, Kansas City sent Mark Redman to the All-Star game, mainly because they needed a representative, not necessarily because he was one of the best pitchers in the AL. In 2003, Tampa Bay sent Lance Carter, and Pittsburgh sent Mike Williams — he of a 6.44 ERA and more walks than strikeouts — to the big game, mainly because the Bucs needed a representative.
I think that if the All-Star Game is supposed to mean something, then it should be the best of the best. If Kansas City doesn't have a player deserving of an All-Star spot, then so be it. If the fans don't like it? Well, they should be complaining about their management team for putting a poor product on the field rather than complaining that they don't have an All-Star.
Honestly, I would much rather see every team represented. Maybe that selection process needs to be altered a bit. By that, I mean, if you've got a team that only has one representative, make sure it's the best player possible on that team. For example, San Diego needs a representative and Street, while he's been injured for a portion of the year, is probably the best choice. Mike Williams, for the Pirates in 2003, probably was not. Reggie Sanders probably would have been more deserving.
Besides, I think the World Series should be primarily about the two teams that earn their trip to the Series. Whoever's got the better record hosts, and whoever doesn't is on the road. If their records are tied, then perhaps you resort to the winner of the World Series. Even then, I can think of better ways for a tiebreaker — head-to-head record (especially if we're going to see more interleague play with Houston moving to the AL), or perhaps their record against their own division.
Page 2 of 2 - At least we don't also have a rule that says everyone has to play. I can't imagine what would have happened if Mike Williams would have needed to face A-Rod, Ichiro and Jason Giambi back in 2003.
Alix Kunkle is the news editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.