Apr
28

The All Star Game will be more offensive

By

Major League Baseball just can’t keep its hands off the All Star Game. Although this glorified exhibition game “counts” for something, the powers-that-be have been tinkering with the format over the last few years. After the 2002 game ended in a tie, the All Star Game became the determining factor for home field advantage in the World Series, and the rosters expanded to ensure a deeper bench.

Today, MLB announced a new round of changes — including the universal DH no matter the home ballpark — that will be implemented this year when the game heads to Anaheim. The changes came out of the workings of the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters, and the Players Association has given them its blessings. They are as follows.:

  • The designated hitter rule will now be utilized by both teams regardless of whether the All-Star Game is played in an American League or a National League ballpark. The National League’s starting DH will be selected by the N.L. All-Star manager, while the American League’s starting DH will continue to be selected via fan balloting.
  • Any pitcher selected to an All-Star Team who starts a regular season game on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game will not be eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game and will be replaced on the roster. The pitcher who is ineligible to play in the All-Star Game will be recognized as an All-Star, will be welcome to participate in All-Star festivities and will be introduced in uniform.
  • Rosters will be expanded from 33 players to 34 players, consisting of 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Last year’s 33-man rosters consisted of 20 position players and 13 pitchers.
  • In addition to the existing injured catcher rule, one additional position player who has been selected to an All-Star Team will be designated by each All-Star manager as eligible to return to the game in the event that the last position player at any position is injured.

By and large, these rules seem to guard against the injury potential while also enhancing the entertainment value of the game. With pitchers no longer batting, AL managers aren’t forced into some awkward double-switch situations, and the reality is that fans would rather see a slugger rather than a weak-hitter pitcher come to the plate during the Midsummer Classic. Perhaps with some extra offense, the NL, winless since 1996, will have a fighting chance.

These recommendations are among the first in a series that should come from the Commission’s committee. Consisting of, according to USA Today, “Tony La Russa, Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland and Joe Torre, eight current and former front-office executives and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson,” this group has already urged MLB to compress the playoff schedule, and the panel is set to release a longer report on the game last this year.

Categories : All Star Game

56 Comments»

  1. bexarama says:

    This time it counts!

    /obligatory’d

    I’m happy for the universal DH, though. The absolute last thing that I’d want to see happen at the ASG is a pitcher getting hurt while batting/baserunning.

  2. The All Star Game will be more offensive
    By Benjamin Kabak

    It’s working, I’m offended already.

  3. …fans would rather see a slugger rather than a weak-hitting pitcher come to the plate…

    I have some friends who are fans of National League teams who would disagree with this statement.
    They claim that the double-switch, et al., causes games to become more interesting because of the additional strategic decisions that must be made with a pitcher hitting.

    I disagree, though.

    • I buy that argument for the regular season somewhat. I don’t buy it for the All Star Game.

      • Pat D says:

        I have never bought that argument. In my opinion it just gives managers an excuse to over-manage.

        “Gee, should I put my 4th best reliever into the number 2 hole in the lineup spot because one of my regulars didn’t start today, or should I put him in the 8th spot because I have a better hitting but weaker fielding shortstop on the bench…”

        STOP IT!

      • It really comes down to one’s individual opinion of what Real Baseball™©®* is.

        If you are a fan of offense, you will be pro-D.H.; whereas, if your idea of a great game is a low-scoring, pitching-duel-type-affair, with lots of sacrificing and stolen bases, you will prefer to see the pitcher bat.

        Having spoken to the aforementioned friends of mine, it is obvious that, if you are a fan of a National League team, the chances are over 90% that you like a National-League-style game, and if you are a fan of an American League team, you prefer the A.L. brand of baseball. What is amusing to me is the convoluted, or pure-emotion based, arguments you get when the proponents of one league or the other attempt to “prove” their league’s version of baseball is the Real, True version.

        One of my favorite quotes, though I cannot recall the source, goes something like this:

        You cannot win an emotional argument with logic.

        *Real Baseball™©® is a derivative of True Yankee™©® Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

    • Drew says:

      +1, watching an awkward AB in the all-star game just doesn’t jive.

    • They claim that the double-switch, et al., causes games to become more interesting because of the additional strategic decisions that must be made with a pitcher hitting.

      Come to tonight’s Cardinals/Dodgers game with Joe Torre v. Tony LaRussa and watch all the heart-pumping, adrenaline-increasing managerial machinations!!!!

      YOU’LL PAY FOR THE ENTIRE SEAT, BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!!!!!

  4. By and large, these rules seem to guard against the injury potential while also enhancing the entertainment value of the game. With pitchers no longer batting, AL managers aren’t forced into some awkward double-switch situations, and the reality is that fans would rather see a slugger rather than a weak-hitter pitcher come to the plate during the Midsummer Classic.

    Hopefully this is the first step towards the DH in both leagues. Selig’s all but admitting that it’s a more enjoyable form of baseball to watch by adopting the format for the sport’s premier fanfest baseball showcase.

  5. Pat D says:

    Wow. This is pretty incredible. I thought it was the intention of this committee to abolish the DH altogether, and now they’re doing this. Hopefully this means the foot is in the door to finally have the hopelessly second-rate backwards National League adopt the DH as well. You know, they might actually win something then.

  6. Drew says:

    Good work on the universal Dh, though it’s long overdue. I don’t understand why they didn’t add more pitchers though. Sure, you don’t want a million “all-star” pitchers, but what happens in extra innings? We ran into this issue a couple years ago and it has still not been addressed. Maybe have 1st team, and 2nd team allstars.

  7. TheLastClown says:

    Maybe they introduce this with an eye toward gauging future response to switching the whole NL to the DH?

    Anyone know how the process went down when the DH was first introduced to the AL?

  8. Beamish says:

    When are they going to put the DH in the NL and reorganized all of MLB into conferences and geographic divisions like the NFL? Time to lose the archaic and essentially meaningless “League” differentiation.

    Every other organized baseball division or league uses the DH. The only exception outside the NL is in the various Farm leagues when both parent teams happen to be NL teams – if either has an AL legaue parent they use the DH.

    The war has been fought, the DH won – now let’s all play by the same rules.

    • Meh, I’ve got no real problem with the AL/NL system. I’d maybe like the eliminate divisions and just have the top four teams via record make the playoffs from each league.

  9. dygg says:

    It seems like the new DH rule creates a slight advantage for the NL. Off the top of my head, AL DHs are a group restricted to moderately priced ageing sluggers – Matsui, Vlad, Papi/Lowell. But the NL can choose its DH from the pool of second best 1B, 3B and OF, like Howard and Fielder. Then again, the NL hasn’t won since 1996.

  10. CS Yankee says:

    I like the DH as well. It let’s the old guys play too!

  11. TheLastClown says:

    The question is:

    Once the NL switches to the DH, how will the Junior Circuit be able to maintain that youthful “edge?”

    Suggestion: Hitters continue to wield the bat as they run the bases.

    That…or rocketboots.

  12. Hughesus Christo says:

    If you asked me to name the four managers I would least like to have making decisions about the rules of baseball, those four would probably be amongst the first 10 I named.

  13. CGlied says:

    The tie game was the 2002 All-Star game not 2003. Pretty sure Torre and Brenly were the managers, and since their teams played the 2001 Series they would’ve managed the following year.

  14. Gary says:

    Bud Selig is the biggest smacker on the face of the earth. Rosters should be 25 men per league. So freaking keep some players in the entire game. They won’t break.

    • No. Pass. Terrible idea. It’s the All Star Game. Who wants to see some team’s clean-up hitter get injured at a glorified exhibition game? Not worth the risk by a long shot.

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