Ever since Commissioner Bud Selig determined to make the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game “mean something,” it’s been a joke.
It’s senseless to tie a goal that’s actually very important (securing home field advantage in the World Series) to a exhibition game that isn’t important at all.
It’s never made any sense to use an exhibition game that’s played as an exhibition game from start-to-finish and attach importance to it.
The easiest way to determine home-field advantage is to compare which league wins more intraleague games. That way every game between NL and AL teams would matter.
The MLB All-Star Game started as an exhibition game and continues to be an exhibition game.
The All-Star Game was always meant to showcase baseball’s most popular players.
It continues to be an exhibition game because the coaches are inherently pressured to play everyone and give all the players a chance for an at-bat or a pitching appearance.
That’s the definition of an exhibition game where everyone gets a chance to play.
The game doesn’t pretend to choose the best MLB players. It’s not even close.
It continues to be an exhibition game because every MLB team is represented rather than choosing the best players at every position.
The All-Star starters are chosen in a popularity contest where fans of the hottest teams (Royals, 2015; Cubs, 2016) select their own players by stuffing the ballot box.
Cubs starting shortstop Addison Russell is not even close to being an all-star shortstop. The fact that Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, who has been a free agent signing bust, was ranked fourth among outfielders shows how Cubs’ fans stuffed the ballot box. Maybe Cubs fans didn’t realize they were not picking Heyward as the Cubs’ fourth-best outfielder.
The coach’s hands are tied because they must choose a player from every team — yes, even the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves. Players are often chosen because of name recognition rather than actual performance. Pitcher Bartolo Colon, 43, is this year’s best example of a player who doesn’t deserve to be chosen.
Sure, the game has always kept score and there was a winner and loser until one year when there was a tie.
It was a perfect finish — an exhibition game that ended in a tie. It was great because no one traveled home sad because they lost a meaningless exhibition game.