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All-Star game needs change in strategy

This Time It Counts." Counts what? The number of moronic decisions by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig?

The MLB All-Star Game is the highest viewed of the four major all-star classics. All the baseball world stops to view this colossal exhibition game featuring the major stars of the game.

Back up. What was that word again? Oh yeah. Exhibition.

This is an exhibition game, but Selig was determined after the 2002 fiasco that the All-Star Game had to mean something. When the afore mentioned game ended in a 7-7 tie due to the American League being out of pitchers, Selig rushed to the rescue.

Bud the Dud thought that the game would mean more to the players if there was something to play for besides more pension money. After some brainstorming - not much lightning in those clouds - Selig and company decided that the league winning the all-star game would get homefield advantage in the World Series instead of alternating like in previous years.

I don't know how they came to that decision, but someone ought to give a pizza party to that second-grade class.

Let's see, the most important event of the Major League Baseball season is the World Series. It determines the World Champions, hence the name World Series.

A key factor is homefield advantage, so we let an exhibition game determine the outcome. Not only that, we let the fans vote for the starting lineup.

Generally the starting lineup is wrong because the most popular players, not the ones having the best season, are voted to play.

I'm not against the fans voting for the all-star players as long as we remember it is an exhibition game, but with so much riding on the game, let's not leave it to which group of fans can stuff the ballot box.

The All-Star Game was the brain child of a Chicago sports writer to merely be an exhibition that raised money for charity. The charity is now the players' union and the exhibition hasn't really changed, even though Selig has determined that "this time it counts."

If Selig really wants to make the game more interesting, here are a few ideas:

10. Put Selig on a dunking machine in the outfield grass behind second base. If a batter dunks him, it's a home run. If a player throws the ball and dunks him, the lead runner is automatically out.

9. Replace baseballs with golf balls.

8. Run bases in clockwise direction.

7. Lead off batter is allowed to call "double or nothing."

6. Let Russell Crowe fill-in for Selig during his telephone chat with fans.

5. Electrify a different base each inning.

4. Members of winning team get a cash bonus. Members of losing team must play one week with Tampa Bay (on an alternating basis).

3. Hit a home run, get a kiss from Shania Twain. Give up a home run, get a kiss from Roseanne.

2. Winning team dines with the president, losing team eats with Robert Blake.

1. Winning team spends the night at Hugh Heffner's Playboy mansion. Losing team spends the night at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Enjoy the game.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.