I think the majority of you remember the 2002 MLB All-Star game played at Miller Park. I can remember laughing at the look on Bud Selig's face when he realized the game could end in a tie and the backlash that would coincide.
Anyway, Benito Santiago ended up striking out to end the tenth and, with his hand upwards towards the sky, Bud Selig told the umpire to stop the game. The game ended tied 7-7.
Of course, media and fans alike blew the situation out of proportion. The bullpens were depleted and it was an exhibition game. What else could they have done?
And then, the unthinkable happened. Bud Selig decided that ties could be no more. From now on, the mid-summer classic would determine home field advantage in the World Series. Not the best team in baseball, but the best league full of all-stars.
To date, the only team this has actually been screwed out of home field advantage is the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals, who were swept by the Boston Red Sox that season. In the future, one can only imagine how many times this will happen.
Believe it or not, this is now what this post is about. No matter how irrational Selig's ruling on the all-star game was, the managers who fill out the roster have been even more. This year's NL roster was filled out by Omar Infante, who Charlie Manuel labeled as the perfect 'utility' player. Nevermind Infante's .717 OPS, or his walk rate of 5.1%. Those are just the kind of players this league needs, right Charlie? It's not like the rosters have been expanded to 34 players. I'm sure there are just going to be too many tough roster decisions and not enough position players at the end of the game.
One look to the outfield tells a similar story. Selected from the Houston Astros is centerfielder Michael Bourn. That's not to take anything away from Bourn, who is not playing awful this season, but there are players who have simply been better than him. Case and point: Andres Torres of the Giants. In full time duty this season, Torres has accumulated a WAR of 3.2, which leads all major league centerfielders. He has posted an OPS of .845 (Bourn .677) and OBP of .382 (Bourn .331). Combine that with an incredible UZR/150 of 23.6 in CF and there is absolutely no reason he shouldn't be in LA next week.
Obviously, the injustice of Joey Votto has been well documented, so I won't get into that. Long story short, he's another victim of an incorrect system. Below are some listed examples of other players who also fell victim this season. The player who actually got the nod is also listed.
(Value in WAR)
Joey Votto (3.6)... Ryan Howard (1.2)
Miguel Olivo (3.0)... Yadier Molina (0.6)
Luke Gregerson (1.4)... Matt Capps (0.6)
Josh Willingham (3.1)... Jason Heyward (2.0)
Andres Torres (3.2)... Michael Bourn (1.7)
Ryan Zimmerman (3.2)... Omar Infante (0.5)
Francisco Liriano (4.2)... Fausto Carmona (1.5)
Kevin Youkilis (3.2)... David Ortiz (1.6)
Jered Weaver (3.2)... Trevor Cahill (1.2)
Felix Hernandez (2.9)... David Price (2.1)
Alex Rios (3.1)... Jose Bautista (2.1)
I know, I know. Some of these players are the only representatives from their teams and that's the rules. My point exactly. If you are going to make this game mean something, put the best players in the game. Also, the managers need to stop selecting the rosters. I'm not saying Omar Infante hasn't been a good backup for the Braves this season, but he is just that, a backup for the Braves. There is no reason he should make the game over other, better players. Make the game an exhibition and have fun with it. Every franchise could still have their hometown player represented. This is just not the way to handle things. Snubs like Joey Votto, Francisco Liriano, Andres Torres, ect, only look worse when home field advantage in the World Series is on the line. If the game is going to be for that, stop letting managers butcher the rosters year after year.