Monday, July 13, 2009

It Is MLB All Star Time But Is It Time For Changes Too?

I am watching the MLB Home Run Derby on (well listening to it as I type) and wondering among all the hype and chatter if the MLB needs to make some major changes. Should the MLB tweak the whole experience? My answer is, without question, please.

First, let's explore the Home Run Derby. I enjoy the game itself though I was also a fan of the old school series as well (yes I am a purist who still loves to see a good long ball every now and then). But at times it does drag on so I have some suggestions. How about if you go four pitches without swinging, that is an out? What if they did individual brackets and start with 8 outs first round, 6 in the second, and then 4 in the final round? I love watching the young kids chase the balls in the outfield but what about some models or Playboy bunnies out there as well? Could they please find a way to use Erin Andrews more and keep her on camera and not just when you feel the need to do what usually amounts to an eventful interview? And last but not least, why not feature the top four leaders in home runs in their respective leagues and offer incentives to appear and fines for those with no logical reason to stay out? Those are just some thoughts to ponder.

Next, what about the All-Star game itself which I think needs more serious changes. For instance, let's change the name to MLB Fan Fest and accept the fact that fans are simply going to vote for who they like and not the best player at a particular position. The game is supposed to be a game of the best baseball has to offer for the fans to enjoy representing their respective leagues but many are skipping out on the game or injured if voted in anyway so let's just embrace it as a showcase for the fans and who they want to see. I understand that players travel a lot and want to be at home with their families but this game is supposed to be a reward for the fans and a show of appreciation for their hard work and staying out of it unless injured (or certain personal reasons) is just silly. If a player was suspended for cheating in any way during the season, they should not be eligible for the game at all. And could we please do all of this on the weekend starting with future's game on Friday?

AND STOP THE NONSENSE NOW WITH THE ALL-STAR GAME BEING THE INDICATOR FOR HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE OF THE WORLD SERIES! The home field advantage should be a badge of honor for a great season, not decided in one game to make it have the air of importance. Since when did taking away the importance of a whole season amount to something less valuable then the outcome of one game? The game has it's own historical value and the fans still see a great showcase of talent so stop with this "it has to feel important" vibe. Players get bonuses based on it and fans get to see their favorite players, that is reward enough. If you want people to appreciate it more, find better ways to get players involved either by offering all expense paid trips for the families involved or fines to those who sit it out because they need the rest (especially since most only play a couple innings anyway and most pitchers only pitch one inning). If you want the fans to care about both, keep them separate and with their own significance. Trust me, more fans are outraged by this preposterous idea then thrilled that it makes the game "matter". Some ideas do grow on you in time but this idea just proves to be worse as years go by.

Baseball used to be America's pastime and now many think that it's time has past. I personally love the game and just want to see it prosper but I think changes need to be made. I am not writing this to personally attack MLB Commissioner Bud Selig either because I do believe his intention was purely to help make the game better for fans and find him to be one of baseball's most purest of fans. I just think before we see this game diminished any more then it is in the eyes of many sports fans, there needs to be changes made to preserve the great tradition that is the all-star break. MLB Fan Fest Weekend could be one of the greatest displays of fan appreciation in sports so why not just embrace it for what it truly is and maybe make a few tweaks here and there to help improve the entire experience for the players and the fans?

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