I’m a disc jockey with an evening radio show and each day around 3:00 p.m. I start working on my show prep. Usually this consists of skimming the headlines on various news sites, generally the entertainment sections and weird/stupid news. In addition, as a disc jockey, I try to hold to the radio tradition of using my show as a personal platform for airing grievances and hatching harebrain poorly conceived schemes with no regard to the consequences.
Each year about this time the sports headlines invariably pop up a story about how to “fix” the MLB All Star Game. This year was no different. Inside of two minutes I found four such stories with headlines like “Fix It Or Nix It.” These undoubtedly include suggestions of eliminating home field advantage, forcing starting pitchers to throw more innings, and my personal favorite, give Home Run Derby hitters metal bats. That last one came from an actual paid sports writer.
This year the big thing seems to be getting rid of the fan vote, solving the problem by giving players and managers (and undoubtedly sports writers because obviously we couldn’t have baseball without those who weren’t good enough to play past high school or college) the majority of the vote. Apparently there have been allegations of ballot stuffing and we can’t have that sort of cheating in baseball. Personally, I don’t believe anyone has ever stuffed the ballot box for baseball; the only Chicago players this year are manager’s picks.
Still, I will admit the All Star starting lineup doesn’t reflect the best players in baseball. Fans vote for the guy they like, not the guy who is the best selection. As Victor Alexander Baltov said in Baseball Is America, “the state of baseball is the barometric pressure of America’s soul.” One need look no further than presidential elections to see the best man for the job rarely wins out over the guy that looks best on a bumper sticker.
So, the problems are well documented by those who know baseball the best, the bloggers and ESPN guys. What’s the solution? Since I’m on the radio, obviously I know more than everybody else, so I’ll impart my wisdom upon you. None of the above.
Bud Selig, here’s what you do.
Instead of This Year It Counts, this year, it doesn’t count. You want people to watch the All Star game again? You want to make it about baseball again? Make it fun again. Here’s how it will work. Fans vote for their 9 players just like always, and then players and managers vote for the remaining 25 players.
On the day of the game, all 68 players line up on the field, and the managers of each team toss a bat. High hand gets first pick. Then they proceed to pick their team, from any of the available players, regardless of league. Then they play baseball. The way it’s been played for 200 years by kids in the back yard. The way every player and manager out on the field started playing when he was six. The real kicker on it will be seeing who gets picked last out of a group where no one has ever been picked last for a team.
And there’s my hairbrained, poorly conceived scheme for the day. Beats the hell out of metal bats for a homerun derby.