It’s official: every active player on a major league roster has been named a 2011 All-Star, and every player has officially chosen not to participate.
It’s going to be a venerable who’s who Tuesday night at Chase Field. As in, “who’s that person filling in for Derek Jeter? Who’s that taking the place of A-Rod?” There is a good reason for so many athletes turning down the invitation to the All-Star Game this year. Traveling to Arizona in the middle of July is no one’s idea of an ideal summer vacation. The players’ level of apathy is approaching the same level as the fans’. It is not difficult to understand why. Many players are tired of regular season interleague play. (And this is an exhibition game). The Home Run Derby, which takes place the night before the exhibition, steals the spotlight away from the main event. Pitchers that pitched on Sunday do not want to interrupt their routine by working on one day’s rest. But the biggest joke is the artificial drama created by Commissioner Bud Selig by rewarding the winning league with home field advantage in the World Series.
<rant mode> I never understood why baseball has always refused to give home field advantage in the World Series to the team with the better record. MLB claims logistical difficulties, yet logistics have never been an issue for the NBA Finals or the NHL Stanley Cup finals. It’s the 21st century. Things like advance ticket sales and hotel reservations are not hindrances. And since the best of seven format has been a 2-3-2 format since they went back to a best of 7 format, logistics should be easier, not harder. It makes more sense, and creates more drama, to have playoff bound teams trying to win games in September, as opposed to coasting and settling for the wild-card, instead of having a bunch of players from second division teams trying to win an exhibition game in mid-July. </rant mode>
If baseball players are treating the All-Star Game the same way NFL players treat their Pro Bowl (and the NFL players are correct in their approach), then MLB needs to seriously contemplate an overhaul of the Midseason Classic. Since the season ends late enough as is, maybe this three or four-day break should go the way of the scheduled double-header and be eliminated altogether.