Major League Baseball continues to say that their All-Star game is better than any other All-Star game because “it matters”. After the infamous tie game (it is an exhibition…what’s wrong with a tie anyway?) in 2002 the powers that be within baseball decided that shouldn’t happen and thought it would be nice if an exhibition game, in which the participants are voted on by the fans, should decide which league gets home field advantage in the World Series. Ask the San Francisco Giants how happy they were to have home field in 2010.
Whether it should decide home field, and if it does should the fans get to vote, is another column in of itself. What really irks me is that Bud Selig wants the fans of baseball to think the game matters, but why should fans think it matters when the players themselves do not think it matters?
The list of those who are pulling out of the mid-summer classic is already full of some of the biggest names in baseball and I’m guessing the list grows a bit longer before Tuesday’s first pitch. Here is the list of names who have already opted out of the game and this doesn’t include those who are legitimately injured (Shane Victorino, for example).
Derek Jeter has been replaced by Jhonny Peralta. Jeter was healthy enough to play today, go 5-for-5, hit a home run for this 3,000th career hit and drive in the winning run in the eighth inning. But when it comes to the All-Star game, he is injured. Fans be darned!
Alex Rodriguez has been replaced by Kevin Youkilis. With Jeter out A-Rod thought it would be fitting if the left side of the Bronx Bombers infield skipped the ASG due to “injury”. A-Rod did not play in today’s game but he has been healthy enough to play in seven games leading up to Saturday’s contest.
Ryan Braun has been replaced by Andrew McCutchen. 5.9 million votes for Braun to lead the National League and Braun has also pulled out of the game. Braun has at least missed the past seven games for the Brew Crew, so his “injury” is real enough to miss games but not real enough to be placed in the disabled list. Although there are reports that he is going to test his calf tomorrow so the DL is still possible.
Mariano Rivera has been replaced by Jordan Walden. That game above that Jeter lit it up at the plate? Well, Mo Rivera was healthy enough in that game to close out the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth inning, but he is claiming injury so he has opted out of the game.
Chipper Jones and Placico Polanco are both out and Scott Rolen has been named to the NL roster. Polanco is out with a bulging disk and has missed the four most recent games for the Phillies and Jones is out with a “knee” injury, an injury so severe that he has played in five consecutive games including today.
Speaking of third base in the NL how is it possible Aramis Ramirez hasn’t received a nod yet?
The list above could get longer with names like Josh Beckett still determining if he will be able to participate. So the question remains: if this game is so doggone important how come some of the biggest names in the game – on teams with a very real shot at going to the World Series – don’t care enough to participate and help their league win?
Enough already; the All-Star was an exhibition game for decades and it is time to turn it back into an exhibition game rather than trying to disguise an exhibition game as some sort of one game series to determine home field advantage.
PS: Jeter will earn a $500,000 bonus for making the team. How can he receive the bonus if he doesn’t play?
The All-Star Game is fun for fans, but for many players it means another payday. Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball has the list of 15 players receiving bonuses for making the game, led by Derek Jeter‘s $500K bonus.
The joke is on the fans.