There are two things that make me want to throw up about the All-Star Game rosters this year; the American League pitching and the National League hitting. Looking over the two entire rosters, it is clear that these rosters need a little work. More importantly though, commissioner Selig needs to realize that he is a major butthead and adjust the criteria for the Mid-Summer Classic. First of all, as I have said before, fans shouldn't be able to vote. Secondly, every team should not have to be represented. Let's take out the old #2 pencil and correct some of the mistakes for this year's All-Star teams.
Fan voting always leads to some of the biggest mistakes in All-Star game voting. Think about it, any moron capable of punching a few holes in a piece of paper, or clicking on players names online can have his say. Democratic? Yes. Idiotic? Yes. If Bud Selig really wanted to make this a serious game, which it should be because home field advantage is at stake in the World Series, he would eliminate Bruce J. Knobslob from being allowed to select Pedro Feliz as the starting 3rd baseman in the NL. I feel like I am repeating myself here, but I must be heard.
Secondly, why does every team need to have an All-Star? I can see it being necessary for the host team to have one, but is this game really going to lose any viewers because the Pirates don't have an all-star? Moreover, it goes back to the importance of the game. If you had to win a game, would you rather put in Evan Meek, or Stephen Strasburg? No disrespect intended, but there are guys who will not be playing in this game who could provide much more to one of the teams than those who are playing because their team needed a representative. This will now be known as the Ed Sprague corollary.
Despite my objections, the teams are what they are. While the AL looks to have a serious advantage swinging the bat, the NL has got some fireballers on the mound. Two innings of the Lincecum dumpster, followed by two innings of Ubaldo, Halladay, Wainwright and Josh Johnson is enough ammunition to shut any team down. The NL lineup is of course centered around Prince Albert, but is a little weak with non-household names like Brandon Phillips, Andre Ethier, Yadier Molina and (possibly) Michael Bourn filling out the starting lineup. If you go up and down the AL roster, it is a who's who of hitting talent.
Joe Mauer, Ichiro, Big Bad Vlad, Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton. These are the guys you think of as All-Star caliber hitters. They are all featured in the AL starting lineup, and will give those NL aces a run for their money. Their pitching on the other hand? Not lookin' so tough. A lot of greenhorns on the AL pitching staff with guys like David Price, Trevor Cahill, Fausto Carmona, Phil Hughes and Jon Lester. It will be interesting to see who buckles under the pressure and who rises to the occasion.
Finally, what is all this nonsense about picking a utility guy who can exit and re-enter the game? Way to look like even more of an idiot Selig. This doesn't make any sense at all. If you are looking for a better solution, just let the teams add more players, or make position players throw a few pitches if you run out of pitchers. I guarantee an extra inning game would end very quickly if that was the case, and I doubt anyone would get injured. Finally, if you are worried about these games going on so long, put less closers on the rosters. Closers are the ultimate space wasters in the All-Star game as most of them can only go one inning. Lose a closer or two and add a Strasburg or an Old Man Moyer who is capable of going a few more innings.
All-Star weekend is one of the most enjoyable weekends in all of professional sports, and there are always great plays and interesting stories that go along with it. However, for such a good weekend it has been terribly mismanaged by Major League Baseball and panders way too much to fans. We need to remember that this game is very important, and it should be treated that way. Selig, ditch the fan vote, get rid of the team requirements, and expand the rosters. In doing so, you will guard against the Milwaukee tie incident and give each team the best possible chance to win. Now, here's hoping David Eckstein and Scott Podsednik both agree to participate in the home-run derby.