All-Star Game Open Chat, July 10 2012: This Time It Counts!

I’m so conflicted about the All-Star Game these days. On one hand, I have such fond memories of it as a kid, where I always looked forward to it as a highlight of the calendar, often attempting to score it by hand before inevitably succumbing to reserve overload no later than the fourth inning. While at a week-long baseball camp in Cooperstown in 1993 (?), I’m pretty sure I ate an entire box of Froot Loops while watching with fellow campers; in 1996, I was able to attend the game in Philadelphia, made all the better by Mike Piazza winning MVP as he launched a dinger over our heads in left field. (Thanks, Dad!)

Now… well, maybe I’m older, and maybe I’m jaded. Maybe the Internet and MLB.tv and interleague play have made seeing all of these various stars together a little less special. But mostly, the All-Star Game has become an endless source of controversy and snark, in no small part thanks to Bud Selig’s attempts to appease his broadcast partners by trying to make the game meaningful.

National
American
DH
Gonzalez
SS
Jeter
CF
Cabrera
2B
Cano
LF
Braun
LF
Hamilton
1B
Votto
RF
Bautista
RF
Beltran
1B
Fielder
C
Posey
3B
Beltre
3B
Sandoval
DH
Ortiz
2B
Uggla
C
Napoli
SS
Furcal
CF
Granderson

Of course, if the goal of the game was really about winning, Zack Greinke would be there. Chase Headley would be there. Kenley Jansen would probably be there. David Wright & Andrew McCutchen would be starting. You wouldn’t have one out of every eight players in the sport claiming that they’re All-Stars. You wouldn’t be allowing players to tweet from the bench, an activity which would draw heavy fines in-season. You wouldn’t have a retired manager impacting home field advantage in the World Series by making questionably-moral decisions under standards he either doesn’t understand or willfully ignores. You wouldn’t have him choose an eighth outfielder – a Cardinal in Matt Holliday, no less – rather than a third catcher when Yadier Molina dropped out, and you just wait until Buster Posey leaves, Carlos Ruiz gets banged up and Posey is then allowed to re-enter.

If it’s not about winning, if it’s about entertainment and showcasing the sport – as it should be – then R.A. Dickey would be starting. More than one Royal would be in Kansas City. More than zero Marlins would be there. Bryce Harper & Mike Trout, two of the greatest young stars in years, would both be in the starting lineups. But hey, Melky Cabrera! The end result is a conflicted mess that tries to serve all masters and ends up satisfying few. Yet since they’ll pull in massive ratings – and I’m not pretending I won’t watch, because it’s baseball in the middle of four days without baseball – Selig and friends will claim it a crowning success. It’s something, all right. But for the greatest sport in the world, it could be so much more.

******

In other news, the Dodgers made a minor move today, acquiring 24-year-old Triple-A infielder Osvaldo Martinez from the White Sox for “cash considerations”. Martinez was part of the compensation Chicago received for allowing manager Ozzie Guillen to go to Miami last year, and despite small cups of coffee with the Marlins in each of the last two seasons, he’s not really a prospect. (Which should be obvious by the fact that Chicago just gave him up for a few lousy bucks.) He does fill a hole, however, since the Albuquerque roster is badly in need of infield depth now that Luis Cruz is up in Los Angeles while Dee Gordon is injured. Martinez will report to the Isotopes and can probably hope for a September pity date in LA at best.

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