The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
The Average Mulder
by Joe Mulder
I Changed My Mind, Then I Changed It Back

I've always thought that the rule stating that every Major League Baseball team must send at least one representative to the All-Star Game was a good one. As I've pointed out in this space before, if you're a fan of a bad team during the lean years, sometimes the only thing you have to look forward to in an All-Star game is waiting around to watch Ron Coomer strike out looking against Trevor Hoffman.

Now, things are a little bit different; the All-Star Game determines home-field advantage in the World Series (something I don't support; I think the team with the best record should get to host Games 1,2, 6 and 7, but they didn't ask me). Should the rule that each team must have an All-Star be dropped?

For about thirty seconds earlier today, I thought maybe it should; Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald was railing against the rule on ESPNews. He was arguing that since the All-Star game "counts" now, you shouldn't have people like Colorado's Brian Fuentes and Tampa Bay's Danys Baez in a position to potentially determine the site of the seventh game of the World Series.

And, as I said, I was convinced for about a half a minute. Then I realized, what a minute, who says you have to put Danys Baez and Brian Fuentes into the game? I used to say that an All-Star manager should make sure that every first-time All-Star got into the game (in case he never came back), and that a player from every team appeared in the game at least once. Now that home field advantage is at stake, I'm willing to waive those requests, but I still like the Every Team Must Have an All-Star rule.

Why? Just 'cause. I like the rule, and I've always liked it, and I think that young Devil Rays, Royals and Rockies fans (all 17 of them) are really, really going to appreciate the rule's existence this year. Am I okay with having, say, Jason Bay homering off of Justin Duchscherer in mid-July determine who hosts Game 7 in late October? Why not? Major League Baseball used to just rotate home-field advantage in the World Series, with the American League getting it one year and the National League the next. Was it fair to Atlanta Braves fans (i.e., the family of Athletic Reporter co-creator and Photoshop guru Jameson Simmons) that the Twins got home field in 1991 by random chance? Sure, Jack Morris might have been able to pitch 10 scoreless innings in Fulton County Stadium, but his chances were a lot better in the Metrodome after he spend the night in his own bed and had breakfast with the wife and kids at his own kitchen table.

Besides, some of the fault lies with those who select the All-Stars; Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford is one of the game's most exciting young outfielders, a borderline All-Star this year and a player who is almost certain to put up All-Star numbers in the future. Do you think anybody in 2013 is going to look at a list of All-Stars from 2005 and say, "Carl Crawford? What? He clearly didn't belong there"? No. And Colorado's Fuentes was a bit of a fluke; rookie Clint Barmes was having a heck of a year before he got injured, and you wouldn't have heard a lot of complaints about him being named to the NL squad. Heck, they could have taken the Rockies' Todd Helton; he's been an All-Star each of the last five seasons, so even though he's not having a great year it's difficult to imagine anybody whining about how he doesn't belong there.

Anyway, that's one man's opinion. I like the rule that every team must have an All-Star, I always have, I was almost convinced otherwise for a little while, but then I came to my senses.
Joe Mulder

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