Baseball had other options to make All-Star game more interesting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003

It was like kissing your sister and she was Joan Rivers.

When the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was halted after 11 innings last year with the score tied 7-7, fans ran out of patience when the teams ran out of pitchers.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig was dumbfounded. So in an effort to give the All-Star Game more importance, he decided to make it count. Selig and associates got together with Fox Sports, owners of the rights to broadcast MLB, and figured out a way to give the game more meaning. They decided that the winning league would be the host team of the World Series instead of using the alternating method it has used for the past, oh, 100 years.

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In other words, commissioner Selig was just plain dumb.

How can you put such an emphasis on this game and still let the fans pick the lineups?

As an example, the Japanese fans voting online selected Hideki Matsui of the Yankees. One team can be put at a disadvantage just because fans stuff the ballot box.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who is an NL coach, likes the emphasis placed on the game.

''You want an exhibition? Go to spring training,'' La Russa said. ''This is meant as a competition, not an exhibition.''

Hmmm. I remember something about a sports writer in Chicago dreaming up the idea and the game was played as an exhibition game for charity. Of course, the charity factor went out when the players union decided it needed the money for its pension fund.

Yeah. Screw those kids in the orphanage or children's hospital. The players need more money to supplement their paltry salaries. There is no way they can put back any money for their retirement on what they earn.

Now, the idea of homefield advantage was only one of the ideas dreamed up by Selig and others. In fact, I just happened to plant a bug in the conference room as the group discussed different ideas. I thought I'd pass along the top 10 rejected ways MLB wanted to make the All-Star Game more interesting.

10. Let Roseanne sing the National Anthem.

9. Losing team must shower in cold water.

8. Randomly throughout the game, bases are electrically charged.

7. Have races between innings by members of the Pirates and let a sausage jump out with a baseball bat and smack one of them.

6. Make players bat and run with their shoelaces tied together.

5. Members of losing team injected with Monkey Pox virus.

4. Winning team gets tickets to Aerosmith concert, losing team gets tickets to John Tesh concert.

3. Postgame meal for winning team at Olive Garden, postgame meal for losing team is concession stand leftovers.

2. Winning team gets phone call from the president, losing team gets call from Tele Tubbies.

1. Winning team goes to Disney World, losing team goes to next year's Mega Fest.

The All-Star Games have never been more exciting. I can't wait to watch.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.