July 09, 2002

Kissing your sister.: This year's Major League Baseball All-Star Game ended in a tie. And in case that wasn't bad enough, the commish gave a less than rosy picture for the future of the game.

posted by grum@work to baseball at 11:44 PM - 22 comments

Just to show that Selig is a bigger idiot than expected, he made the decision to call the game BEFORE the National League team had a chance to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning. So he immediately set in motion a "no-win" situation: if the National League doesn't score, then the fans lose because nobody wins the game; if the National League DOES score, then the fans begin to mutter "fix", that the American League team was TOLD to give up a run so the game didn't end in a tie. Personally, I'd have had moved the pitchers to the outfield, and had the one of the outfielders throw soft toss to the batters. It would make the game look a bit silly (almost a home run derby), but at least it wouldn't end in a damn tie. The crowd would have definately reacted better than it did tonight (the game ended in boos).

posted by grum@work at 11:50 PM on July 09

What a disappointment. It had such promise at the beginning, with Hunter's fantastic grab and several terrific plays later on, a good pitcher-player matchup and fun had by all (strange to see a lighthearted Bonds). Why the hell didn't they have a bunch of alternate-alternates, not just backups for the starters, but some guys you stick in the back of the bus for these types of just-in-case scenarios?

posted by evixir at 12:29 AM on July 10

what is is problem with a tie?

posted by salmacis at 04:09 AM on July 10

Actually, I agree with salmacis here: yes, ties have no place in baseball, but the All-Star Game has precious little to do with 'baseball: the game' and more to do with 'baseball: the players'. And you'd have perhaps as many complaints if one of the late-inning pitchers had done himself damage by staying out there too long just to get a result. All the All-Star Games I've seen have ended with whimpers, not bangs, though it's usually just a fizzle-out in the later innings when the aim is simply to get all of the roster onto the field.

posted by etagloh at 06:40 AM on July 10

I don't so much oppose the tie either since the game is an exhibition. Exhibitions can have a separate set of rules that apply. And of course, that last sentence should be taken more literally... they could have bent some rules and done several things differently to complete the game... though of course the best thing to have done would have been to keep a pitcher or two around. (All sorts of people are complaining about the policy of getting everyone in the game - I like that this happens, but I think that with the pitchers maybe this just shouldn't happen.... letting all positional players bat didn't cause this). The thing that really bugged me was that they went through all this fanfare about Ted Williams and the MVP then they didn't even friggin give it out. Seems like a copout just because there was no one standout performance and they got lazy. Surely they could have come up with someone to give it to, several (Hunter, Bonds, Berkman, Vizquel, etc) were deserving. Hell, last year no one performance stood out either, and we got an MVP... I liked Jayson Stark's comment about how Ted would be rolling over in his grave if he wasn't frozen and hanging upside down. Because that's true... he'd definitely be pissed. But Grum's right too... the announcement before the last inning was really poorly done.. again, baseball shoots itself in the foot. Is Selig capable of doing anything without making himself and the sport look bad?

posted by Bernreuther at 06:49 AM on July 10

They should change the rules so that after 11 innings, a tied All-Star game will be resolved by a home run derby.

posted by rcade at 07:28 AM on July 10

salmacis: well, watching at home I have very little problem with a tie. If I'd paid $175 to watch a game, a tie would piss me off a bit.

posted by tieguy at 08:04 AM on July 10

There's no tying in baseball. This is fun, though: "after the eighth inning, Batista was nearly taken out by a giant bratwurst during the nightly Miller Park sausage race."

posted by kirkaracha at 08:40 AM on July 10

If you're from Tennesee, kissing your sister is pretty common I hear. But I think the way the game played itself out; very exciting to start, and then downhill ending in a tie, is very representative of the 2002 season. Lots of teams with lots of potential at the begining (people hitting home runs like crazy, hitting & home run streaks are being watched, etc.) downhill to the point where no one really knows if the season will finish. But as far as Bud's decision, he was in a no-win situation and made the right call. As far as his decisions with the rest of baseball, well...that's for another post.

posted by rebeuthl at 08:59 AM on July 10

There really wasn't much of a choice, other than Torre and Brenly keeping in mind which pitchers on their roster didn't have scheduled starts coming up, saving those guys for the end and then letting them go 5 or 6 innings. How about taking the first-half MVP's of some local Milwaukee (or whereever the host city is) farm club (AAA or AA) and let them go a couple innings? Would be cool to see some 19 year old fireballer try his stuff. Wouldn't work but it would be interesting. The thing that pissed me off about the way the game ended was the broadcast crew criticizing the fans for "not understanding why the decision was made" to cancel. Then this morning on ESPN radio Mike Greenberg (jackass) took the fans to task for booing as well. HERE'S A NEWSFLASH FOR YOU MEDIA PEOPLE: THE FANS IN THE SEATS ARE WHAT WE CALL CUSTOMERS. They paid for their seats, I'm sure in many cases they paid triple-digits. Media gets in free, parks free, eats free. There's no value equation present because there was no money required for them to sit and get entertained. It's not right for a broadcaster at the game to criticize a fan's reaction at not getting closure under these circumstances. my $.02

posted by vito90 at 09:00 AM on July 10

How disappointing. I feel asleep after the national leauge took a 7-6 lead, but I was enjoying the game.

posted by corpse at 09:37 AM on July 10

I wasn't talking about the All-Star game, per se. I was asking what is the fundamental opposition to the idea of a draw all about?

posted by salmacis at 10:51 AM on July 10

I don't think there is fundamental opposition to a draw if that is an ingrained part of the game, i.e. soccer and hockey. Baseball allows for the open-ended possibility of a draw with extra innings to resolve the outcome. This game was declared a draw (or rather, was decrlared that it WOULD in fact be a draw if the last offensive team did not score) in the middle of the eleventh inning. A horseshit way to go about it even if it was the only choice. Sports is about winning and losing, not tying.

posted by vito90 at 11:02 AM on July 10

If anyone plans on attending a MLB game may I suggest you take the following banner: Average Salary 2 million bucks about the fans who gives a...

posted by mick at 12:00 PM on July 10

Why is sports not about tying? If two teams are evenly matched, a tie is a fair result.

posted by salmacis at 12:46 PM on July 10

I wonder if there's a chance a class-action lawsuit may come out of this All-Star Game. If I had bought a ticket to the game, I would expect a refund because of the unprecedented decision to cancel it for no reason. It is, however, a terrific metaphor for the bumbling indifference of baseball's management to the fans.

posted by rcade at 01:00 PM on July 10

Who won the World Series in [insert year here]? Who won the All-Star Game in that same year? If you have more trouble with the latter of those two questions, it might be because, as I said, this particular game isn't really about 'winning and losing'. If it were, hitters would leave more pitches and take walks, and pitchers would pitch around great hitters. The way they decided to call it squits, in the middle of an inning, was rather daft, but the basic premise seems sound. When a game's being played under such artificial circumstances, with the aim, above all, of getting the entire roster on the field, why not impose an artificial closure on it if necessary?

posted by etagloh at 01:37 PM on July 10

I think that's kind of the point, etagloh. I for one would prefer the All-Star game to be a game about winning and losing. This year's event just made it clear that Bud Selig disagrees with me. There was a time when the All-Star game was in fact about a rivalry between the two leagues. The regular inter-league games have really taken the shine off that. It's a shame.

posted by Bryant at 10:26 PM on July 10

If you allow ties, then you're forced to introduce a points system to measure rankings, and what's the fun in that?

posted by Smackfu at 11:19 PM on July 10

If they are going to fix the MLB All-Star game and make it more relevant, why not change it around a bit: Option 1: USA vs The World - You could easily field a competitive game in this format, with Canada, Dominican Republic, Asia, South America providing more than enough players. A drawback would the xenophobic atmosphere it might encourage. The NHL has run this format successfully for a couple of years now. Option 2: Champs vs The Rest - The previous World Series champs take on the rest of the league. This is what was the original all-star game in the NHL. The obvious drawbacks might be that it won't be competitive or might be unfair to have an entire team play a meaningless exhibition game in the middle of the season. Option 3: 30+ vs Under 30 - The kids versus the elder statesmen. It would provide a nice showcase for the young and rising stars, as well as provide some seasoned veterans one last hurrah. Allow the fans to vote for the players as usual, but have 32 players for each team and abandon the "every team must have a player rep" rule. The last two spots (one pitcher, one fielder) are decided in the last week (like the 30th man this year) and are NOT allowed to play unless the game goes into extra innings. Just a couple of suggestions bouncing around in my skull.

posted by grum@work at 01:11 AM on July 11

Apparently the tv ratings were pretty abysmal -- why didn't they leave it to ESPN, who did a damn fine job with the Home Run Derby? Fox sucked, the broadcasters sucked for ragging on the fans' reactions, and I can't believe they didn't show the Sausage Race. It's an integral part of any game at Miller Park, they show a clip of Battista nearly getting salamied out, and yet they don't say a thing about the Race in general. It's cheesy, it's silly, but it's fun, and it would've been good for ratings.

posted by evixir at 01:21 AM on July 11

rcade -- some guy in Michigan already has filed a suit against MLB. Slightly more info here.

posted by aine42 at 02:27 PM on July 11

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