I said I wasn’t going to do it, but in the end I found myself watching a fair bit of the All-Star game. I even enjoyed it. The league almost got itself into a big pickle, though, with the way it ended. Or almost didn’t end. After they took steps to avoid a recurrence of the ridiculous tie of 2002 it almost happened again anyway. Because of that, and just to make the game more interesting in general, here are a few changes I would recommend that they make to the game. I don’t think that it needs a major overhaul, but since it is an exhibition game anyway these tweaks could make the game more interesting.
1. Let pitchers bring their catchers. The most interesting part of the game is watching the stud pitchers make unfamiliar batters look ridiculous. That happened a fair bit last night, but it would happen even more if guys were throwing to their own catchers. That way the pitch calls would be more aggressive, and the pitchers would be more comfortable. You could still elect catchers to the team and you could let the elected catchers bat, but this change would make the game more watchable.
2. Give pitchers more flexibility. The desire managers have to get as many players into the game as possible forces them into bad decisions. For example, Terry Francona pulled out K-Rod after just one out because he felt the need to make sure that Mariano Rivera got to pitch in front of his hometown crowd. K-Rod still had lots of juice left in his arm, but he was out of service. Because this is an exhibition game, the simple fix is to change the rules so that a pitcher can leave and re-enter the game. There is no reason why K-Rod couldn’t have been available again later on in the game if needed. The same goes for Brian Wilson on the National side – he only lasted two-thirds of an inning. It also goes for any of the eight starting pitchers who only pitched for an inning. This would ensure we would never again have to live in fear of a tie.
3. Fold the Yankees. This is a pipe dream, but it would definitely help both the all-star game and the league in general.