That’s until we see that it’s July and the roster for next week’s All-Star Game had just been announced.
On the scale of injustices occurring these days, it appears as if All-Star “snubs” to guys like Joey Votto and Heath Bell rank right up there with racial intolerance, economic malfeasance and the BP disaster. Of course I’m basing this all off the acrimony and dissent put out on social media outlets, which I’m sure is an accurate representation of all trenchant discourse.
So at the risk of sounding like the PR department for BP, let me put it out there for all the outraged and disenchanted out there…
Get over it!
There, I said it.
OK, I’ll agree with the argument that Joey Votto, Josh Willingham, Billy Wagner, Miguel Olivo and Colby Rasmus should be All-Stars. I also understand that Omar Infante should not be an All-Star if not for any other reason than he doesn’t qualify for the league leadership in most offensive categories. But I also know that in this instance we should, to borrow a phrase, hate the game and not the player.
See, the All-Star Game and the process for which players are chosen is ridiculously flawed. If there is any injustice here it’s not that certain deserving players get left off, but the argument occurs as all. Major League Baseball wants to have it both ways with its broken and, dare we say, stupid system. It wants a showcase where fans can celebrate the game, yet also wants a meaningful contest where something is at stake. That’s not a case of making a cake and eating it, too, that’s pure intellectual dishonesty.
With its All-Star Game set up the way it is, Major League Baseball clearly thinks everyone is dumb… and that’s just mean.
In no other major sport do they pretend that an exhibition is truly meaningful and then hamstring the teams by forcing them to take players that may not be worthy. Just think how Charlie Manuel feels about trying to win a game that is being marketed with the slogan, “It counts!”yet being told that his starters will be a bunch of guys that won a popularity contest on the Internet. If that isn’t enough, he has to select a utility player, a non-closer reliever, and any starting pitcher to play in the Sunday game before the break is not eligible for the All-Star Game.
But you know, it counts.
If baseball wants to have a show, have a show. Do what the NBA does with its All-Star Game where it’s a weekend of parties, dunks and fancy, environmentally deficient cars, lots of showing off, Shakira, and at the end, two minutes of basketball played by the best athletes on the planet. The NBA makes no apologies, either. Instead it touts that it has the best All-Star Game out there and they might even be correct if only for the fact that it doesn't pretend to be something it's not.The NFL does pretty much the same thing, only most players bag out of it since it seems silly to play an exhibition football game after a long season. Maybe the best way to improve the NFL Pro Bowl is to make it a flag football game, or a “Battle of the Network Stars.”
That is if such a thing as network stars even exist anymore.
I’m not even sure if the NHL has an All-Star Game, but if it did, even the hopelessly disorganized NHL wouldn’t put on an All-Star Game the way MLB does. It just doesn’t make any sense and everyone can see that. Think about it… you have probably been in fantasy football leagues better organized than the NHL and if that league sees the folly of the baseball All-Star Game, then it’s really quite obvious.
What Major League Baseball should do is make a decision whether it wants to have a showcase for its fans or a real game with its best players. Truth be told, there is no way to do both and even the most rational fan would argue that the best way to showcase a sport is to have the best players and teams in meaningful games. That’s what happens in Europe with soccer’s Premier leagues and Champions League. Understanding the simple fact that sports fans — the core audience for baseball, by the way — want their games with no frills, bells or whistles, soccer is perfect. There are no commercials, no fluff and no extraneous goofing off. For no more than two hours you are going to get the sport and nothing else even if it has to go extra time.
It’s so simple that it’s genius. If anyone wants to know why soccer is the most popular sport on earth it’s because they don’t get mixed up in all the sideshows or waste anyone’s time. Instead, they allow the fans to make that choice.
In the meantime, Charlie Manuel is going to Anaheim with a compromised club. Worse, he’s being told he has to win or his side won’t get home-field advantage in the World Series. Maybe if he truly was able to select his players it wouldn’t be so bad, but y’know, it’s a show…
Only it’s not. They say it counts, except it doesn’t.
Confused? So is Major League Baseball.