Thursday, July 20, 2006

In Which Rose Has A Few Questions About The All-Star Game

For the first time in recent memory, I didn't get a chance to watch any of the All-Star game as it happened.

Yeah, I know, I'm a sucky baseball blogger. Sorry. Blame my parents' cats. With the folks on vacation, I had to make my way across town to check on the hell-beasties. Granted, they are very cute hell-beasties, and as long as they distract my parents enough that they don't notice their lack of grandchildren, I'm all about happy and healthy kitties. Still, there's no way around it: That's one nasty drive. Especially when one has spent the day operating on three hours' sleep.

I caught a couple of updates on the radio, but by the time I checked in on the beasties, drove to my rehearsal, rehearsed, drove to Dan Tana's, found parking, walked into the restaurant, greeted birthday girl Bonnie, did the requisite "hi, I just got here" schmoozing and glanced at the television above the bar, the game was over.

All of which is to say that these are questions about the generalities of the game, rather than the game itself.

First of all, what the hell is up with this whole "one game decides World Series home field advantage" thing? Since when was anything in baseball decided by one game? (One-game divisional tiebreakers don't count, as they're the equivalent of settling a soccer game on penalty kicks.) And, yes, I'd be asking that question even if the National League didn't get their clocks cleaned with stunning regularity. There's just something un-baseball about it. There are other ways to avoid the tie-game debacle that led to the whole "this time, it counts" theme -- like, say, treating the All-Star game as an actual game because it is an actual game.

Second: I understand the need to keep someone in reserve (see "tie-game debacle," above), but come on: First Nomar Garciaparra, who's been at or near of the NL batting list since he reached the required number of at-bats, only gets on the All-Star team due to fan voting -- and then he doesn't see any playing time? The hell?

There is no number three, just like there was no adequate representation of the western divisions of either league. Again: Huh? It would've killed the team maker-uppers to shoot a glance across the Mississippi? You know, where they have all those people who go to all those games and stuff? A quick glance at the numbers from the past few years indicates that the selections generally lean east of the western divisions. This year, no team from either western division had more than two representatives in the game. At the very least, Oakland should have been better-represented. I can only figure that the team maker-uppers glanced at the record and saw a team hovering around .500, rather than a team that was making up for a wretched start by being well-nigh unbeatable going into the break.

Finally: ESPN, you're, like, a sports network or something. You've been at it a while. I'm sure your immediate postgame coverage was varied and vibrant, but the after-that coverage consisted of the same talking heads chattering between the same few clips, over and over and over again. They were still at it when I left, by which time the game had been over for... well, a long time. The talking heads looked like they were about to nod off, and I'm sure they sounded that way as well. Come on, ESPN. You're part of the Disney family. You have the resources to do better.

So, there are the questions. Answer away. Or don't, becase I don't know if there actually are any answers -- just plenty of opinions. That's baseball for you.