Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Programming Note

Due to a noon deadline on something fairly major, followed by a drive up to Cleveland for something very minor, there may not be much doin' around here for much of the day. Look back mid-to-late afternoon for some possible updates, but until then, talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic:

The All-Star managers should simply tell the vast majority of the reserves that they're not playing and manage the thing like a real game, thereby providing (a) better roster flexibility; and (b) more realistic game play.

Obviously everything worked out OK last night, and you can't bank on 15 inning games every year, but it would have been a far more interesting game in my mind if the batters weren't forced to face fresh-armed fireballers each and every inning.

Apologies for the slow day,



Chris H. said...

And then someone should tell Clint Hurdle to STOP WITH ALL THE DAMNED BUNTING! Good grief, Clint, how many outs do you plan to give away?

As a Cub fan, this is one of the very few years where I give a crap about the outcome due to the dumb home-field-advantage rule. And so I say...BRING ME THE HEAD OF DAN UGGLA!

To your point...I think that one of two things should happen. Either (A) the home-field rule should be abolished and the game should go back to being a true exhibition (my preference), or (B) if the game is supposed to count, then managers must start behaving as though it does. Enough with the bazillion switcharoos; you shouldn't be running out of pitchers or position players in the 13th or 14th inning unless you're Tony LaRussa.

Chris H. said...

And another thing. If the game is going to "count," then none of this worrying about returning guys to their teams tired. If you show up for the All Star game, you need to be ready to play -- for however many innings your manager needs.

Does that create (or enhance) a conflict of interest for the managers? Sure. Will that encourage some players to stay away? Of course.


Chris H. said...

Of course, you could minimize (not eliminate) the conflict. Instead of having the managers of last year's WS teams manage the game, give the nod to the managers skippering the (current) worst record in each league. Oh sure, you'd have to have a cut-off date so that arrangements could be made, but still.

I bet even Joe Buck and Tim McCarver wouldn't be dumb enough to wonder whether Jim Riggleman has a conflict when deciding how to use Scott Kazmir.

Daniel said...

In my opinion, baseball isn’t interesting unless it counts. My main argument with the All Star game is that we have the best players in the world, only they’re half-assing it. I only got to see from the 7th inning on last night, but it actually looked like guys were trying (or trying too hard in Uggla’s case). I liked that. It made the game enjoyable. In previous All Star games, you might not see a guy tag on a short fly ball, or slide coming into home.

The roster management was a problem though, since there was no roster flexibility by the end of the game, due to the Little League-esque “everyone’s gotta play” management mentality. This is dumb. If the game counts, manage like it. I have a couple of suggestions.

This one’s borrowed from Jayson Stark, but make the All Star break longer. Start the season a couple days earlier, have a scheduled doubleheader, whatever, but make the break a week long and have the game on Thursday or Friday. Then you don’t have to worry about Kazmir having pitched on Sunday because he’d be on regular or almost regular rest. Play the minor league All Star games on the days leading up to the major league game so we have something to watch. I’m on record as saying I’m not a fan of the All Star break because there’s no real baseball on, but I could handle a week of All Star/prospect games. If you wanted, you could even turn it into a best of three tourney. I’m not in favor of that, but I’ll throw it out there.

Make it a true ALL STAR game, and get rid of the dumb every team has to have an all star rules. 25 man rosters with the best players in each league, period. Manage the game like it’s an actual game, not like a Little League game.

I’m fine with keeping the stakes the way they are. At least it’s something. Dioner Navarro, Carlos Quentin, Justin Morneau – all those guys could conceivably benefit from home field advantage. I think that was obvious in the way they were playing in extra innings. That’s a good thing. It’s like poker: it’s not really all that fun for most people unless there are bets being placed. But what do you do if no one has all that much money? Play for pennies, play for food, whatever, but just put something on the line to make it interesting. I don’t think baseball can afford to put anything more on the line, but at least this makes it somewhat interesting.

Chris H. said...


I agree up to a point. If you want to make it meaningful, then you have to go all out. Yes, eliminate the every-team-needs-a-rep rule. For that matter, eliminate the fan and player voting completely. Either work up some composite statistical metric to choose players or let the managers choose their rosters, because if the game's going to count, Jason Varitek should be sitting at home.

And if you're going to make it count, then yes you need a longer break. I'm not a fan of this, because to me what really matters is the real season. The All-Star game makes more sense to me as a fun exhibition, but if it's going to mean something, then do it right. I do like the idea of the minor league games; I'd watch all sorts of minor league ball before I'd sit through another BermaThon(tm), a.k.a. the Home Run Derby.

Next, if you're going to make it count, participation must be compulsory. Basic rule: if you're not on the DL and you're conscripted, you play. And it must be codified that managers will consider all players on the roster available for whatever duration the manager deems necessary without regard to the near-future needs of the individual teams. Teams will still whine, but if it's written down then maybe we can head some of that off.

However, different stakes must be sought out. It's theoretically possible that home field advantage could be a deciding factor in the WS, and to have it decided this way really grinds my gears.

You know what else really grinds my gears? When I can't find the droids I'm looking for.

Mr. Thursday said...

Oh, God, please do not extend the All-Star break. 5 days every week (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun) during baseball season, there are 15 games being played. On Monday and Thursday, there are between, I don't know, 5 and 15 being played.

The all-star break is 4 days long now. It contains exactly two baseball games, and I can only watch one of them.

I love baseball. I do not love home run derby. I want as much baseball as possible. If some warped genius were to ever create the 24 Hour Baseball Network, which showed baseball constantly, year around (live games, internation games, minors, college, high school, classic games, just plain old games--no documentary, no baseball related nonsense, just games), I would probably never, ever change the channel.

The longer you make the break, the less baseball I can watch. Screw that.

Here's my vote: the all-star game is just an exhibition, but, also: only deserving players. No Mark Redmans allowed. Also, no sub-average relief pitchers when 155 OPS+ outfielders are just sitting there.

What to do with the lousy players though? The worst record in baseball (the Nationals, for those of you scoring at home), plays the best record in AAA. One game. You know what makes people try? Pride. Also humiliation. You think the Nats won't come out in force to try to beat Pawtucket? Of COURSE they will.

Anonymous said...

One explanation for Uggla's performance:

As for the conflict of interest thing, I thought I had that figured out too. Francona went with Rivera in the 9th hoping he'd be lit up and take the loss, which would so unnerve him that he'd be useless to the Yankees for the rest of the year. Brilliant!