And That Happened: All-Star Game Edition

National League 3, American League 1: If you cared about the All-Star Game all that much you watched it, and if you didn’t watch it you probably don’t care, so there won’t be an in-depth recap from me (click the link in the score for the game story).  Suffice it to say that I’m pleased the National League won and I’m pleased that they won because Braves’ catcher Brian McCann hit a bases clearing double to plate all three NL runs. For the first time in several years I have a rooting interest in who has home field advantage in the World Series, so this outcome is a good one as far as I’m concerned.

Still, I can’t say the game itself was necessarily satisfying, for many of the reasons I cited earlier this week. I won’t go blow-by-blow on this, but any claim that the All-Star Game “counts” for anything is negated when its participants make the free choice to do things like substitute in Matt Capps for Roy Halladay when the latter has thrown only 17 pitches like Charlie Manuel did. Likewise such claims are forfeited when a manager is given a roster of approximately 147 players but can’t see fit to keep a pinch runner available to avoid things like David Ortiz getting forced out at second base on a single to the outfield.

Both of these moves — Manuel’s babying of the National League’s best pitcher, Roy Halladay, and Joe Girardi refusing to pinch run with his lone available player, Alex-Rodriguez — were likely borne of the manager wanted to preserve and protect the health of his everyday player at the expense of making the right tactical decisions in the All-Star Game. My view of things: If the managers tasked with winning the game don’t care enough about its outcome to make good baseball decisions, why should I as a fan be expected to care?

That reservation aside, yes, I watched the whole thing. And yes, I even enjoyed parts of it. Because I was screwing around on Twitter all night I wasn’t concentrating on the play-by-play that much, so there were only about five instances when Buck and McCarver made me want to commit bloody murder. Maybe a new low for them. Despite the overkill I think I want to see that new Leo DiCaprio movie. Overall, it could have been way worse.

Now all we have to do is get through one more real baseball-free day and then we’re back in business.

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  1. bennythedog said...

    “My view of things: If the managers tasked with winning the game don’t care enough about its outcome to make good baseball decisions, why should I as a fan be expected to care?”

    I couldn’t agree more.  I’d also add that they should also get rid of the “one player from every team” rule.  Until they starting playing to win, by getting the best players and making good baseball decisions with them, the ASG will continue to be a marketing, money-grubbing love-fest.

    P.S. I still watched most of it.

  2. MikeS said...

    The most annoying part of the 15 minutes of the broadcast that I watched were McCarver and Buck trying to convince me that the players and managers really do care and that it really does count.  The more you tell me, the less I believe it.

    Just because a pitcher pumps his fist after a strikeout or an outfielder makes a hustling defensive play doesn’t mean he’s thinking about home field advantage in October.  Most professional athletes are so competetive they would go all out in a fishing derby.  Doesn’t mean it counts for anything.

  3. Jim C said...

    As a native Washingtonian and Nats fan, I was glad Capps got into the game and got the W for retiring one batter. Washington pitcher Dean Stone once got a W in an All-Star game without retiring anyone. You could look it up.

  4. Matt said...

    I’m torn on the 1 player per team rule.  While I hate to see the rosters be shaped around trying to force non-worthy players onto the team, I also hate seeing everyone who has ever touched a yankee uniform be in the All-Star game. 

    Teams in big cities have a lot of fans to vote them in to start (even if they don’t deserve it), and then when you get the manager of the team picking his own guys over other deserving players (would you have picked Howard?  And A-Rod was on the team to warm the bench due to injury?)  I kind of get the feeling that without the rule, the All-Star game would have been the voted starters, plus yankees and phils.

    What I’d like to see is them push back the start of voting and construction of the ballots.  Too much changes over the ridiculous amount of time they give fans to vote.  I mean, Griffey received over 1 million votes, and he was retired for like a month or 2 before the all-star game.

  5. Michael said...

    I would like to see voting done not by position, but by team. So someone picks the team they want to vote for online, or vote for the home team at a game. Then whatever player gets the most votes for that team is their representative for the all-star game. The rest of the roster can be chosen in a similar way as now, with a section from players votes, a section from manager votes, and ideally a section from baseball writers votes – with the flexibility required to build an actual team. Just an idea.

  6. Michael said...

    Plus, this might help to avoid the six all-stars from the Yankees and/or Red Sox, as you mentioned Matt.

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