Friday, May 7, 2010

Thoughts on the All-Star Game

This year’s Midsummer Classic will be held in Anaheim, CA, and I’m still totally confused why Angel Stadium will be honored with hosting the game this year. Yes, the ballpark has undergone significant renovations since the Edison International Field days, but it is still a ballpark that is very old and nothing spectacular. There are at least five teams with new ballparks that have not hosted yet, excluding Chase Field, who is hosting in 2011 – more on that later. PETCO Park is one of the most beautiful and unique ballparks in the league, and Great American Ballpark is in one of America’s greatest baseball town and is already in its 8th season. The Reds would totally sell out the All-Star Game in about 20 minutes, and if the city can put together a half-assed ridiculous bid for the Olympics every four years, they can make a push to host the game. Neither the Reds’ park nor PETCO is even on the horizon of getting a game, as Kauffman Stadium is reportedly slated for 2012 (substantial outfield renovation), and Citi Field for ’13. And come on, if you’re going to have an ASG in Los Angeles, it should be at Dodger Stadium – at least that park is in a nice area and doesn’t have rats. Unfortuantely, despite my rant, I realize that Angel Stadium probably just got the game by default since it switches leagues every year and almost every other AL park has hosted recently.

Major League Baseball announced four changes to the ASG last week. First, the DH will now be used in all games regardless of host league. Second, any pitcher who starts the Sunday before the game will not be allowed to pitch in the game, and although he will still be recognized as an All-Star, his spot will be replaced in the lineup. Third, managers are allowed to re-enter a player into the game to replace any injured player (rule expanded from previously being allowed to only replace an injured catcher). Lastly, rosters will expand once again by one player to 34. I am in favor of all of these rule changes, particularly the DH rule. Even though I am generally opposed to the designated hitter, nobody is coming to the All-Star Game to watch Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay swing the bat, and I think that for this one game it should be okay. The other three rules are all undoubtedly related to the All-Star Game’s major loophole and nemesis – extra innings. The worst thing any manager can go through is having to run out of players and use pitchers on one days’ rest just because an exhibition game went extra racks. I would even expand that injury replacement rule to say that you could replace any player at any point in the game, for whatever reason.

There has also been a lot of talk that many Latino-American players will boycott the aforementioned 2011 ASG at Chase Field if the new Arizona immigration law passes. I don’t want to get political on this blog, and I admittedly know very little about the law, but I’d have to think that if so many people in the players union are opposed, that Major League Baseball will work something out. It’s not a politician’s responsibility to vote for or against a law just to accommodate overpaid ballplayers, so the hones for this should fall squarely on Bud Selig’s shoulders, who has been an excellent problem solver in his tenure as commissioner. Latino-American player comprise a large and important portion of baseball today, and Selig and the city of Phoenix will not sit idly by and watch half of its stars sit this one out. I’m sure that only a few more weeks of Ozzie Guillen blabbering to the media will help the issue work itself out.

Just a note: Brewers’ beloved broadcaster Bob Uecker underwent successful heart surgery last week for a leaking valve, and after 6 days in the hospital, returned home yesterday with no complications. He has been texting various friends throughout baseball and is doing well, and I’m sure will be listening to Cory Provost’s call on 620 WTMJ until he is slated to return in about 3 months.

Brewers 12-16, -5.5 (3 @ Diamondbacks, 3 v. Braves)
Reds 14-14, -3.5 (3 v. Cubs, 3 @ Pirates)
Twins 19-10,
+3.0 (4 v. Orioles, 2 v. White Sox)

Erik - 8
Peter - 7

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