It’s become something of a punching bag for the media, analysts, fantasy sports folks, and more recently but I like the All-Star Game. Is it perfect? No. Is it the game my dad watched as a kid (well, one of two ASGs back in the day apparently), no. But it’s still fun to see a living fantasy team take the field.
The voting system isn’t perfect – not the fan voting or the player voting – the roster use can be a mess, and the game isn’t played like it counts, despite holding what can be a decent advantage for the winning league, home field for the World Series.
Without getting too into it, what would I change to improve an event I already enjoy?
First, either go all-in on “it counts” and run the game like a real game or return it to the exhibition it was in the past. Just picking one of these eliminates a number of issues because if the game doesn’t count for anything, who actually plays doesn’t matter as much.
Second, change up the selection system. Take the two MVPs from the previous season and make them captains. Each chooses a starting 9. The fans get to vote on the bench and the starting pitcher. The manager gets to assemble a bullpen and choose the “final vote” candidates so that a Bryce Harper or Yasiel Puig can get on the team because everyone wants to see them play.
Third, eliminate the rule requiring every team to get an All-Star representative. Back when Joe Torre loaded every team with Yankees this seemed like a logical move to prevent too many teams from being left out, but today the manager doesn’t have as much control and with online voting, fans can make their voices heard in a more powerful way than ever before.
And that would be it. Shake up the game, mess with the rules, and have fun. Oh, and each All-Star Game format would last say, five years, and then shake it up again. The game should be fun but it should be a game.