Can the MLB All-Star Game make a Comeback?

By William Bischak
Jul. 20, 2018

The Midsummer Classic has been a staple of American summers since 1930. It was once the highlight sporting event of the summer with the best players from the American League and the National League matching up to see who is better that night. Interest and attention has waned during the past couple of decades. Some wonder if it is really necessary to have an All-Star Game at all, along with the other three major sports leagues. I'll take a brief look at the history of the All-Star Game, the present on how its been affected and possible remedies that could enhance it in the future.

The play that gets brought up often, and is clearly the most popular play in All-Star Game history is the Pete Rose flattening of catcher, Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game. Back in those days, the game meant pride and bragging rights for each league. It was a heated rivalry which neither league particularly liked each other. You couldn't trade players without waivers from one league to the other before 1960. Both league offices were in separate buildings before 1990. Then the one thing happened that pretty much killed any rivalry left between the two sides...

Interleague play.

Baseball decided to introduce interleague play back in 1997. It was supposed to spice up baseball that was still recovering from its ugly 1994 strike which wiped out the World Series that year. It worked, for the most part, as baseball began to heal its black eye. Before 1997, no team from each league faced each other for the exception of Spring Training and the World Series. One of the large reasons that made the All-Star Game great was the superstar players went up against the other league's superstar players which you never saw. Now with each team playing 19 interleague games a year, its become commonplace.

Other reasons that caused the downfall was the increasing insistence to play everyone on the roster, causing players; especially pitchers, to play only one or two innings. Who can forget former commissioner, Bud Selig to call a tie sitting in the stands one year?

An attempt was made to enhance the game by Selig to have the game determine the home field for the team that represented the winning league in that year's World Series. Many felt that was preposterous, believing it's proper for the team with the best record to have home field advantage.

So how can this game get reformed? Some are in the camp of getting rid of it, but I'm not. The break for a few days is a necessary thing in the middle of a long season. The Home Run Derby is usually entertaining. A game like Tuesday night's 8-6 American League victory only helps. The game featured a record 10 home runs. But that can't be counted on every year.

Here are a few ideas that could help this game...

Limit interleague play to just regional rivalry games.

Have two, three game series home and home against a regional rival. Yankees vs Mets, Cubs vs White Sox, etc. Use the 13 freed up games for in league play.

Reduce the rosters.

Knock them down to the standard 25 players from 33. You will have more of a normal game that way instead of six pitchers used in five innings. Also, does every team need to be represented? The Pirates certainly didn't deserve one.

Adjust payments to the players.

Have players of the winning league get paid substantially more than the losing team's players.

Those are a few of my ideas that could help this game. It's worth saving. Now if the National League can find a way to win one eventually.