The selection of the annual All-Star rosters is, by definition, bound to ignite controversy. It seems a foregone conclusion that, each year, some deserving players are going to be left off the team.It doesn't have to be that way.When baseball changed the rules so the All-Star Game would determine which league gained home-field advantage in the World Series, it should have also eliminated the stipulation that each of the 30 teams must be represented. If the game had remained merely an exhibition, that would change the equation.
But when Major League Baseball decided to help sagging television ratings by attaching some significance to it, the conditions changed.Baseball cannot have it both ways. And if it insists on making the game meaningful, and home-field advantage in the world Series fills the bill, it should stop worrying about keeping fans happy and focus on ensuring the best players take part in the game. That cannot be done under the current format.
Players of merit are left off to make sure that someone from Kansas City or Pittsburgh gets to make a perfunctory appearance. It's not as if fans of the Pirates or Royals are not going to tune in if they know beforehand that their teams are not represented. What real baseball fan fails to be drawn in by the tradition, the pageantry and the stars?Next week, no one will be fooled into thinking that players from poor teams are honest-to-goodness All-Stars worthy of inclusion. Such players are token selections, victims of a broken system designed to appease everyone.
If baseball wants the game to be meaningful, it needs to treat it as such. The current guidelines preclude that. If, on the other hand, baseball wants to make everyone happy by having every team represented, it should drop the World Series tie-in.As it is, baseball is trying - quite unsuccessfully - to have it both email@example.com