- The All-Star game, for the 2nd straight year, hit a record low in ratings. Hey, MLB, perhaps you should listen to my Internet brother Anthony Di Giorgio and stop letting FOX just run willy-nilly with their marketing and promotion of the game. I know I speak for some fans when I say the dumbing-down of the game by FOX, in addition to their over-the-top, aimed-at-eight-year-olds promotion, turns me the heck off. By the time I see Roger Clemens throw a pinball, while smiling, at Derek Jeter, who, while smiling, hits it out of a pinball machine for a "home run" (and Clemens is still supposed to smile about it I guess)...well, I'm ready to toss my cookies. And I haven't even eaten any cookies, either.
- Idiots disguised as baseball analysts still seem to want to lend more weight to teams' won/loss record when determining an MVP candidate (Joe Morgan, Jayson Stark, I'm looking at you two). Guys, listen. If the stats are about even, then by all means, use that as a tiebreaker, but not to determine who is more valuable before you've really compared the numbers. This isn't close -- Derreck Lee is smoking everyone right now. Yes, Morgan Ensberg is having a breakout season for the resurgent Astros. Yes, Andruw Jones is carrying the Braves' offense while Chipper Jones is re-habbing (even though, honestly, Jones really isn't that much better than he's been before). But Lee can only do what's within his power, one play/at-bat at a time. And he's playing stellar defensive 1st base as usual, and he's killing the ball at the plate. Again, it isn't close. Stop creating a race for this award from nothing, please.
- Stark is on the money, though, when speaking of Juan Gonzalez. This man has robbed two teams two consecutive years of more than 4.5 million dollars. No one will pay him anymore, but then, the Indians shouldn't have paid him this year. They didn't need him, but I'm sure they'd like to use that $600K on something that'd be more useful...like, say, buying enough eyeblack to last them for the next 592 seasons. Yeah, that'd be more useful than Igor, I'd say.
And just to add onto the All-Star thing, allow me to point out a silly contradiction. MLB wants things to be fair in the All-Star game. Statement of...well, I guess it could be fact. Here's another. MLB wants there to be the perception of fairness in the All-Star game. I think that's more accurate.
Let's think about something. They force a rep from every team down the throat of fans every season. The Royals, if not represented by Mike Sweeney, just don't have an All-Star player. Neither do the Pirates, Brewers, and Devil Rays most years. But, to be "fair", they get a guy from every team, hope he has a winning record and a below 4.00 ERA (pitcher) or a .300 batting average (hitter) to make the selection seem worthy.
But let's be real here, right? You force those players onto the All-Star game, but then you let the fans run willy-nilly (2nd time I've used that term in this entry...proud of myself) with the voting process, voting 25 times for pick-a-Yankee if they feel like it.
Is that really fair? Of course it isn't, because the big market teams obviously have a huge advantage. So if one part of the process isn't fair, why bother to attempt to balance it with the team reps?
Here's the rub of it -- MLB just doesn't have balls. Brass balls. Big brave balls (you know, like Bullet-proof Tony from Snatch) . If they did, they'd simply go for the bucks and allow the fans to decide everything, from the starters to the reserves. Because you know what? Those fans voting are the exact people who'll be watching the game, tuning in to watch those big name players from those big market teams they voted for in the first place.
As much as it'd sicken me to see some of the mistake selections the fans would make, it definitely wouldn't be any worse than now, where mistakes are still made by the fans voting, and on top of that the mandatory rep from the undeserving teams compound the mistakes. How many more mistakes could fans make if they chose the reserves as well?
And meanwhile, folks, MLB would see improved television ratings, because they're letting the fans control it all, so the fans will tune in. Everybody wins (well, except me...I still wouldn't watch).
If not that, then let's make sure the selections are as right as they can be -- eliminate the mandatory team rep crap, and then balance the fan voting with selections made by the following groups: managers, players, and sportswriters/media guys. Let each category count equally, with the fan vote being a tie-breaker if necessary. That way, if the ratings are going to suck, then at least we got the composition of the actual All-Star game as right as we can.
Get something right, Mr. Selig.