By Pat O'Rourke @patorourke_29 on July 17, 2014
If there are bigger travesties in sports than the fact the MLB All-Star Game decides home-field advantage in the World Series, you can count them on one hand. It's a virtually unanimous decision that the now-12-year-old incentive for winning the exhibition game is a joke and must be changed. Here are five reasons why it shouldn't count.
The game is an exhibition. And it is set up, structured and promoted like just that, save for the notion it has an ounce of relevance. If the game 'counts', then why do fans vote in the starters? Why do we center the game around outgoing legends like Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter? My eyes tell me the game is a celebration of baseball and the final score doesn't matter, but what do they know?
If the MLB All-Star Game is held for anyone, it's the fans. It's a thank you to the fans who follow the sport, pay the expensive ticket prices and foot the bill for first-rate facilities like the Target Field in Minneapolis -- the site of the 2014 All-Star Game -- which was completed in 2010 with $ 392 million in public funds.
Virtually every member of the American and National League rosters makes an appearance in the game. If it mattered wouldn't Clayton Kershaw have faced more than three batters Tuesday night? Wouldn't Felix Hernandez come out for the second inning if this was truly a 'must-win situation' for John Farrell?
Of the 62 players who played in the game on Tuesday night, four or five of those participants at most will play in the World Series. Of the 55 participants in the 2013 Midsummer Classic, just six played in the Fall Classic. Derek Jeter's leadoff double on a pitch Adam Wainwright admitted to grooving jump-started a three-run inning for the AL, which ended up winning 5-3. And Jeter likely won't play in the postseason, let alone World Series.
While I contend the compete level and brand of the game that is played in the MLB All-Star Game is higher than the other All-Star games, the game still isn't life or death for the players. If Adam Wainwright is pitching to win, does he groove that pitch to Jeter? Not a chance.
But let's not forget, it counts!
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