10 January 2003

Selig Plan To Permit Winner of Most Spring Training Games Choice of National Anthem Singer for Playoffs

In the latest of the brilliant ideas that have defined the reign of Acting-Commisioner-for-Life Bud Selig, he has proposed a plan in which the league that wins the All-Star Game will have home-field advantage in the World Series. If, that is, someone actually wins the All-Star Game. Doesn't always happen, you know.

This wouldn't be a bad idea, according to Jayson Stark, at least, giving some weight to the Mid-Summer Classic again, turning it back into the competitive, realistic, exhibition display of athletic skills rivaled only by...say...pro-wrestling! But seriously, there needs to be something to make these players want to compete, to make the managers want to try to win, to make the fans well, not boo at the end of it. This would do that, but why? What bearing does the All-Star game, an exhibition played with the intent of displaying the best and/or most popular players from each league pitted against each other in an epic battle for annual bragging rights, have on the World Series? A series of games between the two teams from each league that came closest to winning their divisions without actually doing so? If this policy had been in place last season, do you know how many All-Stars the Anaheim Angels would have had helping them toward home-field advantage int he World Series?


That's right folks, Garrett Anderson, he of the two and a half dozen annual walks, was the lone representative of the 2002 Anaheim Angels, who went on to win one of the most surprising and dramatic Fall Classics since, well, 2001. And what did he do? 0-for-4, RBI. So if the AL had lost the All-Star Game, and if the Angels had lost the World Series, and it was perceived that they did so for the lack of home-field advantage, then all the sportswriters could go back to one game played in the middle of July, in which the only representative of that team had done poorly, and blame Anderson for not having had the foresight to keep from doing so poorly. They could probably sue, if they wanted. How much more ludicrous could this be? Nobody even knew whether or not the Angels would be in the Playoffs by the end of the year, much less vying for the world championship. So what does it matter if the league from which the winning team comes in July gets home field advantage in October, when there might be no more than one player from that playoff team on the All-Star team, and that perhaps only for the sake of the rule requiring a minimum of one player from each team to make the All-Star game?

What Selig ought to do is issue a statement that the managers of the All-Star teams should make every reasonable attempt to manage this game like a regular-season game, as long as he doesn't physically jeopardize any of the players or something like that. Threaten a fine if there's indications of stupidity, like bringing in Barry Zito to throw three measley pitches.

Promise a quality product and the fans will love you for it. C'mon, Bud, they've hated everything else you've done so far. What do you have to lose?

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