Baseball fans dutifully submit votes for who they would like to see start in the All-Star Game. Players and managers fill in the rest of the slots to top off 34-man rosters for both Leagues.
And right on cue, subtle and not-so-subtle messages are fired off from players and managers alike they would rather not play…or see their players played (especially pitchers)…or even have players attend.
By the way…this year’s game is in Phoenix. Did you happen to catch the weather in Phoenix yesterday? They have a dome so I guess if you can get there…
The cold hard truth is a lot of baseball would just as soon have this time off…especially here in Philadelphia. It has been like this for years now.
It does not warm my heart to deliver the obvious. One of my all-time favorite baseball memories growing up was watching Reggie Jackson’s home run in the 1971 All-Star Game. Ball. Hit. Hard.
You’ll see a number of “replacements” announced in the next couple of days. You know why. Players want to rest and heal. Managers want their players to rest and heal. Owners have a stake in their team’s success, not which League wins the All-Star Game.
People are beside themselves about New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia not being included in the original AL roster. He announced about two seconds after that announcement he was going on vacation with his family. Maybe he already had sent word out “thanks, but no thanks.”
As always, a few of the players voted to the starting line-ups you can question as to whether or not they should even be on the field. When you factor in the players who openly opt out…or the managers asking All-Star managers not to “push” other players in the game…the domino effect takes me to question how hard those who do ultimately participate are going to play. Do you expect everyone to play “hard?”
And at that point…what IS the point?
We can just have a highlights show for everyone who was originally selected, honor their “achievement”…and then get on with the business of baseball.
The NBA and NHL All-Star Games are flat-out parties. Defense isn’t looked at as optional, it’s considered bad taste. Mid-season “contests.” The NFL Pro Bowl…a complex story all to itself with the hybrid combination of the end of the season mixed in with forced survival tactics when you choose to play on a professional football field.
I know the living is easy in summertime…and that’s how I think a lot of baseball people approach the All-Star Game now…easy.
As in…take it easy.