The All-Star Game for what it is

AP
Pete Rose scores the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game, crashing into catcher Ray Fosse.

We're just a handful of games into June and the push to fill out those All-Star Game ballots online or at the stadiums are in full swing. Kansas City is playing host to this year's festivities and the National League leads the series 42-38-1.

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game was an exhibition for many years before Commissioner Bud Selig's bright idea to make it count for so much more. Some of the highlights before my time consisted of the first All-Star Game that featured Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and a pair of Leftys -- Gomez and Grove. Then there was the 1967 edition that lasted 15 innings before Tony Perez blasted a shot off Catfish Hunter, making a winner of Don Drysdale and Tom Seaver earning a save.

Who could forget Pete Rose steamrolling Ray Fosse in the 1970 edition and Fred Lynn hit the only grand slam in 1983 which helped earn him MVP honors? What about those special farewell moments such as all of the stars gathering around Ted Williams near the mound at Fenway Park in 1999 and Alex Rodriguez "pushing" Cal Ripken Jr. back over to shortstop in 2001 in his final appearance.

Why in the world would anyone ever consider using the All-Star Game to determine who gets home-field advantage in the World Series with so many special moments in its storied past? It's time we change it back to what it really is.

Some people will give Selig a lot of credit for changing baseball for the better. The former Milwaukee Brewers owner became acting commissioner in 1992 after he led a group of owners who forced out Fay Vincent because they felt he wasn't doing an adequate job. Selig officially was named commissioner in 1998. He lead two separate expansions and introduced interleague play and gave fans the chance to see players they wouldn't normally see during the regular season. 

That's all well and good, but my memories consist of the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, the embarrasment that was a tie in the All-Star Game on July 9, 2002 in of all places, Milwaukee which led to his decision to make the All-Star Game winner have home-field advantage in the World Series. 

Houston's move to the AL next year creates a great opportunity to right the ship: Return the game to an exhibition. Make the regular season relevant again by rewarding the team with the best record with home-field advantage. Most All-Star games are popularity contests and some times the players don't take the game itself serious (cough, cough NFL players).

Let's hope Selig comes to his senses before his tenure is up in 2014.

 

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