Dickey: An All-Star makeover

Baseball is prospering, but there are changes that could improve the game, starting with the All-Star Game. Here are some suggestions: 

¤ Take the All-Star voting from the fans. This system was always open to abuse, but it’s become intolerable with the advent of online voting. Clubs tell their fans to vote multiple times. They do, with some fans voting hundreds of times. 

¤ Extend the All-Star break so it doesn’t impact starting rotations. Every year, there are All-Star pitchers who, at best, are available for only one inning because they’ve pitched two days before. It’s happened this year with Tim Lincecum and Justin Duchscherer. So make the All-Star break five days, with the game itself on Wednesday. I’m sure MLB could find more silly events to fill the days. Pitchers would not only get their rest, but players would get a break that would keep them fresh for the rest of the grind. 

¤ Drop the idea of having the winning league also be the home team for the first two and last two games of the World Series. Commissioner Bud Selig did this because he wanted to make fans think the game meant something, but there’s a better way. Instead of telling managers they have to get every player in the game, tell them to manage as if it’s a regular season game they’re trying to win. That’s the way it used to be. In the first All-Star Game I saw in 1961 at Candlestick Park, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente played key roles in a 10th inning rally that won it for the National League. The key is that they were all still in the game. That’s the way it was, and everybody was really trying to win the game. Now, starters are out of the game early, so they shower and get out of there. Think they care how the game turns out?

As for the rest of baseball: 

¤ A division winner that finishes under .500 — hello, NL West! — can’t be in the playoffs. Take the second-best wild card. 

¤ Do something about the schedule. It’s a mess. One example: The A’s have played 55 home games already. In the second half of the season, they’ll have only 10 home games in each of August and September. 

¤ Make the National League adopt the DH, conforming with the rest of professional baseball, high school and colleges.

I can hear the screams from National League fans. “We’re playing the game the way it was intended to be played.” Good thing these fans weren’t making the rules for the NFL or we’d still have one platoon football.

In fact, NL baseball is nothing like the early product, when gloves were tiny and the ball was so dead it could hardly be hit past the infielders. Want to go back to that?

NL fans say they want players to play the whole game, but pitchers don’t.

If a manager had a serviceable starter who won 13-14 games but didn’t get a hit all season, do you think he’d take him out of the rotation? Of course not. He’s a specialist, in the lineup for one reason. If you substitute a DH in the batting order, you’re just replacing one specialist with another.

It’s time for the National League and its fans to enter the 21st century.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

Glenn Dickeysports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

There are pandemic-era options for movie lovers who want to watch outdoors

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced Peterson to death March 16 for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. (California Department of Corrections via Getty Images/TNS)
Prosecutors to retry penalty phase of Scott Peterson trial

2003 discovery of Laci Peterson’s body led to sensational high-profile murder trial of husband

Most Read