Armchair Manager: All-Star Controversy

It is one of baseball's biggest annual events: the All-Star game. But this year, the game will decide which league will have home field advantage for the World Series. Not only that, countless players who hardly deserve an All-Star selection are buttoning up their white and black jerseys. What's going on?

Ah, yes, it's time for everyone's favorite baseball event: the Midsummer Classic. It's the annual event when fans from all across the country (and beyond) can come together and root for the All-Stars – the best players from around the league

Oh oops. Did I say best players? I meant best-liked. Sorry.

In the past few years, there has been high controversy around the All-Star game. Look no farther than last year's debacle – a tied game? Tied?! Please, Bud, you have to be more creative than that. Hold a short homerun derby. Rock-paper-scissors. Flip a coin. Something? But no – he ended it with a tie.

This year it gets even better. Home field advantage goes to the winner. That I do not like at all. Whoever thought of it should burn (cough). I guess I like the principle behind it. They want to make the game more competitive, and I can understand that. In years past, players went to the All-Star Game with dignity and pride and played their absolute hardest, even if the game meant nothing. MLB is trying to bring that back. But this is the wrong approach.

First of all, it affects the way fans vote. Cmon, I'm a Giants fan. You really think I'm going to vote for the best AL players out there? Of course not. I want my Giants to have home field advantage if they make the World Series. (With all due deference to the baseball gods.) I'd fill out all Tigers on MY All-Star ballot!

Secondly, it changes how the game is managed. I just don't see the Cubs or the Angels making it into October baseball this year. Mostly, I'm worried Dusty will leave in Jason Schmidt too long. God knows we'd be dead meat if either of our All-Stars were to miss significant time in the second half. (Knock on wood.)

And last but certainly not least – do you REALLY want to see Richie Sexson decide whether the NL has home field advantage in Game 7 of the World Series or not? Yeah. Thought not.

Now, not everyone's going to agree with me, but that's fine and dandy; this is my column so bug off! The fact that each team needs a representative is lame. What's even lamer is the fact that despite that, the best player from each team is not getting selected. Please tell me Pittsburgh has somebody better than Mike Williams. I know they do. If you need a reliever from the Pirates, what's wrong with Joe Beimel? I mean, sure, he doesn't have the saves, but at least his ERA is… I don't know… under 6?! Excuse me, but I do not want Williams's All-Star stint deciding such an "important" game, thank you.

Is it really that hard to just select the best players from each league? You know, it isn't exactly rocket science. Some people just don't get it.

Having the players vote for All-Stars also amuses me. In a bad way. Especially when players come out and say they voted for their friends. I think it's even funnier when the players vote for themselves. Talk about egotistical.

As if the game weren't a mockery already, MLB manages to pull a stunt like replacing reigning AL Cy Young award winner Barry Zito with everybody's favorite (not) Roger Clemens. It's going to take me a while to get over that.

By no means does Clemens deserve the All-Star call. It's not even close. I hope the Yankees are happy now – they managed to moan and groan until they got their way (as usual). Zito got yanked. Literally. Maybe they should coin a term for that. This is not the first time a player has been snubbed for a boy in pinstripes, and it certainly will not be the last.

What really gets me is how Clemens isn't even the best pitcher in the Yankee rotation this year. Maybe Mike Mussina and David Wells just fell off the face of the earth and someone forgot to tell me. Yeah that's got to be it. Oh, maybe they were abducted by aliens. Who knows. And I suppose Tim Hudson and Pedro Martinez get no love either. So many snubs this year – it's absolutely ridiculous.

I'm trying very hard to understand the reasoning behind Clemens's selection. However, I like Zito desire some sort of black-and-white explanation. Why can't they just come out and ‘fess up? It's for TV ratings. Money. Is that what this game has come to? They said it's in Zito's best physical interest, but who better than Barry Zito to decide whether he can pitch or not? If he says he can pitch, he can pitch. Zito is a big boy. He can take care of himself.

I really don't care if Clemens is planning to retire after this year. Good for him. Was Tony Gwynn selected to his last year's All-Star team? Uh, no. Straight up, I can admit I am hardly a fan of Roger Clemens, but biases put aside, Clemens's performance this year hardly merits an All-Star selection. If he had the stats, I'd be more accepting, but he doesn't. But what he does have is his 300 wins and 4,000 strikeouts. And George Steinbrenner.

Enough with all this idiocy. No more fan favorites, media darlings, or players going because they're the "nice guy." Send the best players – period. In the words of Bret Boone, "How about that?"

Michelle Lo, also known as the Armchair Manager, writes recaps and other miscellaneous articles and designs some of the graphics at She can be reached by email at

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