The Major League All Star Game will be played in Cincinnati this year at the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Game, which will be held on July 14, is the final event of a Gala Weekend which starts on Friday with a Fan Fest kickoff. The Fan Fest, with every kind of baseball related event you can imagine, runs until Tuesday night just before the Game itself.
On Saturday, there is a 5K race called the Color Run with music at night. Sunday features the Futures Game, where some of the top young players in baseball compete in an exhibition game, followed by the All Star Legends softball game with stars of the past playing against celebrities.
Monday is workout day followed Monday night by the home Run Derby which supposedly tests the skills of the best home run hitters in baseball against each other but, in reality, is the equivalent of golf’s longest drive contest. Contestants might as well be hitting the ball off a tee as the ball is lobbed up there by relative, friends or coaches and the players just swing for the fences. Any resemblance to game conditions or reality is purely coincidental.
Then there is the game itself. Players get there as a result of a popular vote among fans, this year conducted only on line, which only emphasizes the senselessness of selecting player this way. Fortunately, most years the fans come up with very repreentative teams, if only by accident, as they are urged to vote and vote often and each team asks their fans to vote, not necessaarily for the best players, but their home team players. Some of the players are also chosen by the team Managers who are the managers of the previous year’s World Series teams.
Then there is the game itself. Every effort is made to ensure that all position players named to the team get into the game no matter the effect upon the final score. Pitchers, for obvious reasons, are limited in the amount of innings they pitch and some of the pitchers selected for the team cannot pitch because they have pitched in the last few days.
It’s a great spectacle but, like most All Star Games, especially the farce that the NFL puts on, the game is a meaningless showcase of talent.
Unfortunately, the winner of the game is given the advantage of home field in the World Series. The home field advantage means that four of the seven games scheduled in the Series will be played in the winning league’s representative’s park. It is ludicrous that a meaningless game provides such an advantage in the determination of the World Championship of baseball.
In the age of Interleague play, with games being played every day between teams from each league, why not give that advantage in the World Series to the league whose teams have the best record against the other league. Those games are for real, with each team doing their best to win because the games all count toward the final standings and they determine what teams will get to post season play.
The All Star Game is a grand spectacle but it should not affect the outcome of the World Series. Interleague play records are the logical way to assign home field advantage in the World Series. Home field advantage should be determined the old fashioned way, the league getting it would earn it.