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.

12 Responses

  1. Adam S.

    Mark if your next reds announcer is anyone currently working in cincy, I’ll pass. A big no to kelch, hoard, mo or lance.

  2. Tom Gray

    The 1970 game was a classic (from the green seats in Riverfront rich above home plate). Birds eye view of Hickman single and Rose / Fosse collision.

    • Vanessa Galagnara

      greatest single play of all time. At least the most exciting.

  3. greenmtred

    I wouldn’t change the on-field rules because the All-Star Game should be a celebration of the game, not a celebration of something else. What I WOULD change is the selection process: fan voting is a near travesty. To my knowledge, no deceased guys have been selected to an all-star team, but plenty of guys who, for other reasons, shouldn’t be on it are on it. Basing home-field advantage on the outcome seems like a mistake, as well, particularly since the teams aren’t really made up of the best players.

  4. memgrizz

    Wait – there’s someone who enjoys Chris Berman? Diff’rent Strokes, I suppose. If there’s one reason I won’t watch the Home Run Derby, it’s Berman.

  5. Vanessa Galagnara

    The all star game shows you the two faces of major league baseball. You go to any MLB website and you will see a message about enter the home run derby bracket challenge for a chance to win 5000.00 USD.
    Now, you tell me isn’t that gambling? Why is it that MLB is pimping out a gambling strategy when they are so adamant that gambling should not be a part of baseball, the players, or the coaches?

    You tell me. A player bet on baseball games he gets banned for life. MLB tells you the fan to gamble on the home run derby and it is ok.

    I told myself I would no longer post on this website but there it is. I’m sure that many a writer will come up with an eloquent way to tell me I’m wrong because their opinion differs from mine but… that is the way it is.

    • Mark Elliott

      Vanessa – you are not wrong. I have a real problem with the Draft Kings association with MLB. It’s gambling, no matter what you call it.

    • Wire_to_Wire

      I wish folks would just get over the whole Pete Rose gambling. If it wasn’t Pete but was a Dodger or Cardinal I doubt many would be raising an issue. Pete could have taken PEDs and folks would be making excuses for him. He broke a rule on which he knew the punishment was a lifetime ban and still did it. He did it as a player, a player manager, and a manager. He accepted the punishment and lied about his involvement for decades. It is a sad and tragic story but I think many folks are just enablers for him. Let it go. First he didn’t do it. Then he only did it while a manager and only for his team to win. Now “well it isn’t as bad as . . . (fill in the blank)”. He lost the honor that was there for him and it isn’t coming back.

      • Mark Elliott

        There is a difference between “enabling” Pete Rose and complaining about the double standard of sports today.

  6. jdx19

    How does Ryan Braun get added over Joey Votto to the all-star team? That’s a head-scratcher.

  7. Jeff Beechler

    My wife and drove down from Indy for 5 days and had a blast! From Fanfest, to the ToddFather Derby, to the Franchise Four, to the Queen City being decked out, Skyline Chili, The Mayor, etc. What a bunch of sour grapes for an event that Cincy won’t see again in at least 30 years.