By the time you read this Sunday night, All Star Mania will take over the Queen City.   People, media, parties and commotion on Fountain Square and beyond.  I wish for great weather and no disasters.

But in any case, it doesn’t affect me…

I’m not going.

Oh, I’ll watch a little of it on TV.  The Home Run Derby rule changes not withstanding, I will enjoy Chris Berman’s home run calls and the ToddFather’s Little League smile.  I’ll probably watch some of the actual game because there is nothing else on (I get up at 2:45 every morning for my 5am radio show so it won’t be the entire thing).    And there were some great All Star moments for me –

Randy Johnson versus the bailing out of the box John Kruk

Pete Rose demonstrating that blocking the plate without the baseball has always been a bad idea (what, no link to the video?  C’mon, what true Reds fan can’t see that right now in their head!)

I was at the game in ’88 watching Spuds and Larkin in their first appearance.

But for me the All Star Game has lost its luster and charm. Inter-league play took away some of the intrigue of players facing each other for the first time ever.  The “We were out of pitchers” game was just wrong.  And the knee jerk reaction of awarding home field advantage has rubbed me the wrong way ever since.

All Star games are exhibitions of the best of the league. I was lucky enough to go to Michael Jordan’s first NBA All Star Game (and first Slam Dunk.)  Sure, teams wanted to win and players played hard but somehow every time Magic was on the floor, Bird was as well.   Unlimited subs made it fun to watch.

Baseball’s substitution rules make it much more of a strategy game.  Starting lineups are certainly important, but most close games come down to who’s left on the bench to pinch hit vs. who’s left in the bullpen to pitch. In other words, a manager/coach’s game.   Tuesday night I want to see Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman pitch to Mike Trout and Miggy – yes I know he’s hurt but you get it. I’ll bet a lot of people want to see Chapman pitch to Trout.   But the way baseball is played and the need to hold onto a closer so Bochy can win “home field advantage” I’m betting that won’t happen.

My suggestion – change the rules for the All Star Game. The NFL does it (not necessarily in the right way, but they do).  So does hockey. 

Baseball should loosen the substitution rules in this game – I don’t know how but figure something out.  Come up with a way so that almost every at bat is compelling and interesting.  And get rid of the home field advantage. Reward regular season performance.  And then, I might think about getting to the game (if I can get a second or third mortgage).

NOTE – Thanks for all your comments and input on my past Sunday Evening Posts, especially on the subject of Reds media and Marty.   I’m soon going to be named head of the Reds Radio Network… in my mind. And four weeks from now, plans for the Reds audio media, including the new play-by-play announcer, will be revealed in this space.