Tuesday July 15, 2003
I think Iíve been pretty clear as far as my thoughts about this yearís All-Star game. To repeat, the All-Star game should not matter, it shouldnít count! Major League baseball made a knee-jerk reaction to last yearís tie game. First, I think last year when the All-Star game was called after 11 innings, it was the right decision. Itís just an exhibition game, and it should be just an exhibition game. Everyone should play, every team should be represented. It should be fun!
But now, home field advantage in the World Series is at stake. Why was this the answer? Thatís so dumb! Why didnít Mr. Selig just go to the managers of the All-Star game and say, be sure to leave 2 or 3 pitchers available in case of extra innings. Or, make the Starters pitch 3 innings. Why make the All-Star game more than it is? Itís a showcase of the best players in the game, but itís also a showcase of the league and its teams. Thatís why all teams should be represented. No one really cares who wins the All-Star game. Those people who actually tune in and watch the game donít care who wins that game. They watch to see the players, the matchups. They want to see Roger Clemens (one of the greatest pitchers of all time) pitch to Barry Bonds (one of the greatest hitters of all-time). They want to see Dontrelle Willis (one of the great young pitchers) against Rocco Baldelli (one of the great young hitters). Thatís what itís about, not the outcome of the game.
Itís not like the old days, when the leagues really cared who won. Since free agency, players move from team to team and league to league so frequently that there really isnít any allegiance to their league. The game is, and should be, an exhibition for the fans to get to see their favorite, and the best, players.
However, if the game suddenly means something as important as home field advantage in the World Series, then the best players should be there. And if thatís the case, not every team should be represented, and the best players should go. There is so much wrong with the major league all-star game. Here are just some of the changes I would propose to major league baseball regarding the All-Star game and weekend:
1.) Donít make it Count. Itís an exhibition, itís fun!
2.) Take away Fan Voting. This is so dumb and outdated. Fans vote frequently for their favorites based on favorites and reputation, not who is most deserving. And, as long as there is internet voting, any quality Japanese player will always be voted in. And as long as there is a Red Sox player in the 32nd player vote, that player will get in. I would recommend a combination of players, coaches, up to 4 beat writers for each team, general managers, and advanced scouts voting in All-Stars.
3.) If the game is going to count, eliminate the Ďall-teams representedí rule. This would eliminate the selections of players like Lance Carter (who has lost his closer role in Tampa Bay), Armando Benitez (who Mets fans would love to see lose his role), Mike Williams (who has 25 saves, but an ERA over 6), and Eddie Guardado, who is just terrible.
4.) Iím going to steal an idea from yesterdayís Aaronís Baseball Blog (link) and say that baseball needs to better market its Futures Game. Those are the players who will be stars in the next few years. He lists the many current All-Stars that have played in the Futures Game the last few years. Baseball doesnít market itself well already, so who better to market than the future stars?
5.) I understand that they donít want to take away a weekend of games for any of their teams, but if they would move the game to a Sunday late afternoon, it would be better. Saturday, they could have the Futures Game, the celebrity softball game, and finish the day with the Home Run Derby. Teams could have Friday through Monday off, giving them a 4th day off, making it an actual break. Also, having it earlier in the day, more kids will be able to watch it!
What would I do if I were the manager? Well, here is what I would say to my All-Star team:
ďFellas, I know that this game counts, but weíre still going to have a good time. I am going to do my best to get everyone into the game. I hope that is possible. I have talked to a few of you pitchers who will only pitch if we get to extra innings. Weíre not going to play this any different than any other all-star game. I want you to enjoy this experience. All I ask is that when youíre hitting, you try your best. When youíre on base, you know how many outs there are and you hustle. When youíre playing defense, be ready for the ball to be hit to you. In actuality, when youíre in the game, just play the game the way you always have, the way that has made you an All-Star. The game will take care of itself. Letís make sure that we have fun, that we play hard, that we play smart, and that we give the fans who paid good money a show!Ē
One last thing that bugs me. Major League Baseball sure listens to what the media says, donít they? I mean, because of the excessive coverage the Randall Simon situation got, they felt the need to suspend him for 3 games. The media yelled that Dontrelle Willis should have been an All-Star. So, when it was decided that Kevin Brown couldnít play, it was Willis, not Hideo Nomo or Brandon Webb who was named to the replacement. Now, Willis has been incredible, but just look at the numbers of the other two pitchers, they deserve the spot and at least the mentioning of their names. (Iím not saying anything bad about Willis. Nomo and Webb should be all-stars, and theyíre not because Mike Williams and Armando Benitez are.) And, the other player a lot of people thought should have been on the All-Star roster was Roger Clemens. Heís already announced that this will be his last season, and heís won his 300th game and struck out his 4,000th hitter. A couple years ago, MLB invited Tony Gwynn to the All-Star game, and he and Cal Ripken were honored during the game. Why couldnít they do that same thing again? But no, they take Barry Zito off the All-Star roster. How terrible was that?
Enough on the All-Star Game! Letís talk about the Home Run Derby.
I watched it last night and had a few comments on it. I love the Home Run Derby. Here are my thoughts:
∑ It was unfortunate that Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey, Jr. didnít participate, but the fans still got a show.
∑ My pre-Derby prediction was that Torontoís Carlos Delgado would win. Yeah, he didnít even get out of the first round.
∑ Chris Berman sure likes to listen to himself talk, huh?
∑ Alex Rodriguez is Mr. GQ. But, he also speaks very well, and asked the best, most inquisitive questions to the players who joined them at the booth.
∑ I love seeing all the players watching the Home Run Derby with their kids, and with their video cameras. To see them just getting the enjoyment of seeing the power hitters put on a show!
∑ Sam Ryan - Is she new? We like her!
∑ Why doesnít Bret Boone get knocked down more? That bat flip would really get to me. Itís really offensive and disrespectful! And he whiffed during the Derby!! Couldnít have made me happier!
∑ Did you hear Mike Sweeney preaching religion to Albert Pujols early in the competition?
∑ Dontrelle Willis was sitting with the announcers when Jason Giambi hit his 12 homers in the first round. He was so excited to be there. When Giambi finished, Willis just said as he stood up to cheer and said, ďI gotta get up. I donít deserve this chair any more.Ē I thought that was classic!
∑ Would someone please tell Chris Berman that Jason Giambiís last name is pronounced ĎJee-Om-Beeí, not ĎJom-Beeí.
∑ Jim Edmonds hurt himself in the second round. Thatís why we canít blame anyone for not participating!
∑ Pujolsí 14 homers in the second round was an amazing performance! He may be the best non-Bonds hitter in baseball right now. A-Rod may have a case. But Pujolsí ability to hit everything hard, and hit for power over the whole field, is really impressive, especially for someone who is (Supposedly) 23 years old.
∑ Garrett Anderson is amazing! He is maybe my new favorite player. No excess effort. He just has such a sweet swing, and he hit enough home runs to win the championship. Each round, he did just enough to continue. Maybe this will be the event that will make him a big name. Probably not.
∑ The Home Run Derby is the best part of the All-Star Festivities.
Other baseball news:
The LA Dodgers signed OF Rickey Henderson. The 44 year old was playing for the Newark Bears (the same team that Jose Lima was playing with before signing with the Royals). He was putting up great numbers there, and finally is getting another shot in the majors. Heíll probably just be a role player, but should be able to help that pathetic offense out.
The Dodgers were busy yesterday. They also picked up OF Jeromy Burnitz from the Mets in exchange for 3 AA prospects. Burnitz had a fairly solid first half, with 18 homers. But, I certainly donít expect Jeromy Burnitz to be a difference maker for the Dodgers. I think heíll come back down to the level that heís played at the last couple of years with the Mets. Burnitz is a career .252 hitter who strikes out a lot! He hit just 19 homers all of 2002. But, in the 4 years before that, he had averaged 34 home runs a year.
There was a lot of talk about Terry Ryan trying to get Burnitz from the Mets, and the Twins definitely could have given the Mets a better package of prospects. But, I donít think Burnitz is the answer at all. He strikes out a lot, and his 18 home runs is just 4 more than Torii Hunter, so heís not a big bopper. Plus, heís left handed. The Twins donít need another left handed bat!
BASKETBALL NEWS -
When Kobe Bryant was arrested last week, I wrote an article on athletes getting in trouble. I wrote in it:
ďBut what always happens with the NBA? They give reason to the cynicís belief that NBA players are a bunch of thugs and potheads.Ē
Well, what has happened in the one week since I wrote that? Llast weekend, Jerry Stackhouse was arrested for assault for ďallegedlyĒ grabbing the neck of a real estate agent.
Chris Webber plead guilty to a lesser charge in the perjury case that would have started trial today. So, he should avoid jail time, but the NBA will probably suspend him for still admitting guilt.
Itís going to be a big few days for the future of the Timberwolves. They thought they would be able to sign Juwon Howard, but heís announced that he will sign with the Orlando Magic, who have cap room.
The Wolves offered Rasho Nesterovich a big multi-year deal, but now itís looking more and more like he will sign with the San Antonio Spurs instead. That would be a big blow to the Wolves! Supposedly, he will decide today. If the Wolves donít sign Rasho, maybe they could convince Michael Oliwakandi to sign for cheap. Not likely!
Lebron James rejoined the Cavs summer league team in Boston for a game last night. He scored 25 points, had 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and 2 blocks just for good measure. Of course, now he will miss games the next two days to be at the ESPYs!
Well, if you do watch the All-Star Game tonight, enjoy it. I hope itís fun! I probably wonít watch it, at least not all of it.
So, if you have any thought on the All-Star game, the Twins, sports in general, movies, TV, or anything, just e-mail me and I will get back to you.
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