Tonight the MLB will host the 88th annual All-Star game and for the first time in 14 years, it will not determine which League champion will have home field advantage in this year’s World Series. Yep, the MLB All-Star game is now just an exhibition game, just The Pro Bowl and the NBA All-star game, tonight’s match up between the NL and AL is completely pointless. This was destined to happen. It’s easy to justify the change from the new collective bargaining agreement, giving the pennant winner with the better overall record home field advantage, but what will happen with the all-star game? The original rule was put in place after the 2002 All-Star game ended in a tie when both teams ran out of pitchers to use in the 11th inning. Granting home field advantage in the World Series was the MLB’s attempt at providing value to the All-Star game. The experiment has failed and now we are left with a pointless exhibition baseball game.
The natural optimistic in me hopes pitchers don’t give a shit and it’s a 9 on 9 slug fest but that’s doubtful. Most likely, tonight will be a very solid baseball that the true fans will like. As cliche as it sounds, it’s always great to see the game’s best playing together on the same field. You don’t typically get to see match ups like Daniel Murphy or Bryce Harper up against Chris Sale or Max Scherzer against Aaron Judge or Carlos Correa. But now this game officially doesn’t mean shit to anyone. The guys are playing for a pot of cash that they split equally ($640,000 divided between the 32 players on the roster). Do we really think these guys need MORE money? $20,000 is nothing to them, are they even going to be trying? This isn’t like the NBA all-star game where they can dick around for 3 quarters, run up the score and then try for the last 5 minutes and it’s still incredible. A good baseball game is built on the spirit of competition; I just hope the MLB can keep the players committed to giving a full effort.
In my opinion, since the game is now meaningless, the MLB should give the players the week off and just have the Home run Derby. Last night’s Home run Derby was absolutely outstanding. Every hitter put on a show and it was no surprise to anyone that Aaron Judge came out victorious after hitting the roof with one of his dingers in his first round. If they followed that up with a huge, league wide “meet and greet” day where players go to their home field and get the chance to meet fans, take pictures and sign autographs, I could see that being successful. Teams would still be able to sell merchandise and tickets to enter the event, so there won’t be any money lost on their end. Fans will also get a more personal experience with the players from their favorite teams. Luckily, we have an all-star game tonight and we will just have to wait and see what happens with the game in the future.