July 15, 2003


ONE STAR REVIEW: I love baseball, but I don't care about the All-Star Game, and I have a hard time understanding why anyone does. Sure, it's fun seeing all those superstars together on one field, and the pageantry of the event is cool for the first few minutes, but then, sooner or later, it becomes just another game- one that everyone instantly forgets less than 24 hours later. The only reason anybody remembers last year's game is because it had the one outcome no baseball game is ever, ever, supposed to have- a tie.
This year the buffoon responsible for that embarrasment, Commissioner Bud Selig, has come up with an even more misguided idea: the league that wins the All-Star Game will be awarded home-field advantage in the World Series. Fans and sportswriters alike have been nearly unanimous in their dislike of this asinine new development; clearly, one has nothing to do with the other, and there's no reason not to give home-field to the team with the better record, as every other sport does. Like every other Selig idea since he took over as commish, it's an underhanded grab for ratings- and just like every other Selig grab for ratings, it's likely to fail.
But what's even worse are these stupid "controversies" over players getting "snubbed"- nearly all of which are alleviated when, due to injuries and/or no-shows, subsitutions are named to the team. This year each league had 34 players named to the original roster- and that's not included the dozen or so since named as "replacements." This practice reached a nadir today when, already having arrived in Chicago, Oakland's Barry Zito was shunted off the All-Star team without warning in favor of Roger Clemens-and was informed of the decision not by his team or the league, but by a reporter.
I say if you're going in this direction anyway, turn it into the sort of game depicted in the W.P. Kinsella novella "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy"- 80 innings, with hundreds of players on each side and constant substitutions. Want ratings? Run it as a ten-part, "Band of Brothers"-like miniseries.
I'll be at the Springsteen show so I won't even be watching the All-Star Game; today was hard enough, as one of only two days out of the entire year (Wednesday being the other) with no scheduled games of any big-four professional sport. The baseball event I am looking forward to this week? The three-hour mock trial of Pete Rose, showing on ESPN Thursday. It's Alan Dershowitz vs. Johnnie Cochran; I can't wait to see what they say when the inevitable Rose vs. OJ comparison comes up.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 15, 2003 02:17 AM
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