The 83rd addition of the MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium was by all accounts a smashing success. While the score may not have indicated an exciting contest with the National League cruising to an 8-0 whitewashing of the American League, TV ratings were up from the previous season and the city of Kansas City was widely praised for providing fans with a memorable experience.
However, there are still ways to make the MLB All-Star Game itself even better. Here are five suggestions.
1. Eliminate the rule that all MLB teams are represented
Why does every team absolutely need to be represented? All too often, deserving players are excluded/snubbed because of this silly rule.
Inevitably, at least three to five players each year are left off All-Star squads in spite of having better overall stats than players picked from teams who honestly don’t deserve representation. This rule needs to be eliminated.
2. Limit All-Star rosters to 28 players per league
The All-Star Game is supposed to be about the best of the best. Gone are the days when starters played entire games in favor of managers making sure to try to get everyone on the roster into the game.
This was evident two weeks ago, when National League manager Tony LaRussa made three pitching changes in the ninth inning alone, with three different relievers pitching a third of an inning each. Five pitchers combined worked the last two innings in what turned out to be a blowout.
Was that really necessary? I hearken back to 1970, when American League center fielder Carl Yastrzemski won the All-Star Game MVP with four hits in six at-bats. When was the last time that happened?
3. Eliminate the “This Time It Counts” Rule
After the infamous “tie” game in the 2002 All-Star Game, MLB mandated that the league who wins the All-Star teams earns home field advantage for the World Series that same year.
The last time I checked, the All-Star Game was an exhibition game that had no bearing on the season standings whatsoever. If managers are worried about getting all their players in the game, are they really playing to win, or are they trying to assuage egos by making sure players get their face time on the field?
The All-Star Game doesn’t “count” in season standings. Home field advantage in the World Series should be rewarded to the team with the best record, plain and simple.
4. Let fans continue to vote, but not for starters
The starters in the MLB All-Star Game have long been decided by fans. But in many cases, starters are voted in over other players who are simply more deserving.
This isn’t about taking away the fan vote—let them continue voting. However, change the system so that fans vote for the players to be included on each roster. Let the managers decide the starting lineups.
5. Include local broadcasters in calling play-by-play for the All-Star Game
Back in the 1970s, NBC invited play-by-play announcers from teams represented in the World Series to participate in the calling of the action during the Fall Classic.
It was a terrific way to engage each team’s loyal viewers and listeners by hearing the familiar calls of their local TV talent.
The All-Star should implement the same policy. Use announcers from the city hosting the All-Star Game. This will engage even more interest from fans who might not otherwise watch.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class custom wood bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.