Baseball#8217;s All-Star Game is only an exhibition contest

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

Let’s make this clear from the start: The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is an exhibition game.

Granted, it’s an exhibition game with some major star quality, but it is an exhibition game none the less. So, will someone tell baseball and commissioner Bud Selig.

The selection of the players is in the hands of the fans, much like a political election. Unlike a political election, fans can vote more than once.

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Okay, so maybe it is like a political election.

But the fact remains, it’s a popularity contest. So if each league can’t select its best players, then don’t give us the idea that “This time it counts.”

Ever since the infamous tie a few years ago, Selig has determined that the league winning the All-Star Game gets to have four home games in the World Series instead of the alternating system that was in place.

Yes, we’re going to let an exhibition game help determine who wins the ultimate goal of the season, the world championship.

Fair? Of course not. But this is Bud Selig and Major League Baseball.

And because this is an exhibition game, there will be no ranting about this player or that player not making the team. Some fans get upset if their hometown guy is overlooked, but the players don’t mind the three-day vacation unless there is some huge bonus in their contract.

Cincinnati outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the top players in the history of the game, but he is 38 and his offensive numbers reflect his age. Yet, he was among the leading vote-getters and almost got a starting job for the National League. He wasn’t in the final top three and then didn’t even make the team.

Conversely, the Reds’ Brandon Phillips is probably the best all-around second baseman in the NL and is putting up good numbers but wasn’t even among the top five vote-getters.

The All-Star Game began as an exhibition to raise money for a Chicago charity. Today, it’s a glorified exhibition game used to raise money for those who already have plenty of it.

If you’re a fan of baseball, watch it. If you’re just looking for something to watch, it’s not a bad choice. If you’re a presidential candidate, you might want to study the voting process.