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Much Needed Changes to MLB All-Star Game

DPAll-StarGame The newly formed “Special Committee for On-Field Matters” may not have the correct pulse when it comes to fixing the issues in Major League Baseball regarding division realignment, but it has found a way to successfully alter the game’s midsummer classic.

The league office announced several changes to the all-star game that, to be quite honest, are necessary, reasonable, and effective for today’s game. After the 2002 debacle of a tied game in Milwaukee, Commissioner Selig was forced to stamp the gimmick of “This time it counts” with the winning league receiving home field advantage in the World Series. In agreement with many, the move seemed debatable, and is still a hot button topic today. However, the following changes I believe are great ways to keep the All-Star Game fun, competitive, safe, and most importantly for Selig and his league, interesting:

The contest always will include a designated hitter no matter where it’s played.

Many baseball traditionalist may not like this, but the fact of the matter is, this is the direction baseball is headed in the future. The argument about the pitcher hitting being “pure baseball” is becoming one that is tired. MLB baseball loves the DH because it provides more offense. More offense equals more interest. More interest equals more money. Also, the players love the DH. It provides rest, lengthens lineups, and extends the careers of many. In fact, the National League in MLB and the Central League in Nippon Professional Baseball in China, are the only leagues in the  world (including amateur and collegiate) that do not utilize the DH. Double-switches and strategy is already difficult enough, it has no need to burden managers in an All-Star Game.

I think it’s a great idea. You go through a lot of needless scorecard work if you’re in the National League. Unnecessary.

Tony La Russa – St. Louis Cardinals Manager

No starting pitcher who competes for his team in the previous Sunday will be allowed to pitch in the All-Star Game.

Another change that is a result of today’s baseball culture, rest days, pitch counts, pennant races, and millions of dollars are all reasons for such a rule.

"It makes sense. If you play a game on Sunday, I know as a manager I wouldn't want that guy to pitch on Tuesday. I'd want him to maybe throw a light bullpen, but that would be it. I think that makes a lot of sense. It's unfortunate because you might see a (pitcher) deserving of the All-Star Game pitching that day, but games are important during the regular season."

-Joe Girardi – New York Yankees Manager

Rosters have been increased to 34 players, by one slot designated for a position player. 

Expanding the roster is a great idea. More positions players will give managers a better opportunity to compete if the game goes into extras.

"I believe they're serious about it being a true competition, and to do that, if the game goes extra innings, you have to be able to compete. You get that problem where guys are excited about being there and they don't participate, so you want to have them play. That's where the extra guy you get to protect.

Tony La Russa – St. Louis Cardinals Manager

A Rule will allow one position player re-entry into the game in necessitated by injury.

A rule that follows up on the rule allowing catcher re-entry in the same situation. A great idea to get into the rule books in the event of an emergency. DP All-Star Game

With the mid-summer classic slowly on the horizon in July, the new changes should add some life and safety precautions to the event. However, some amendments not addressed and should be, are in regards to the fans voting of a DH in an American League park. Currently as is, fans will have the opportunity to select the DH for the American League team, while the National League DH will be chosen by the team’s manager. National League fans should be given this opportunity with the now permanent advent of the DH in the game. However, as stated before by Bud Selig, there will be several more changes to the game before he retires in 2012.

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