By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
By gametime, I won’t be surprised to see that Adam Dunn and Randy Wells have been added to the rosters.
I was initially taken aback by Aramis Ramirez’s decision yesterday to turn down an All-Star invitation, but now I’m with him. Why bother? Collect whatever selection bonus your contract allows and hang out with the family for a few days, wearing your “Kiss the Cook” grilling apron while flipping brats on the patio.
Ramirez does not even count officially as a withdrawal from the game, so he’s not one of the sixteen — it may be more, now, as you read this — who either are “injured” (though only four guys are actually on the disabled list), pitched too recently to be allowed to participate or are otherwise committed for tomorrow night, when the once-glorious affair takes place in Phoenix.
84 players made the MLB All-Star team this year, in one way or another.
You read that right. 84.
You know what that means? It means no more wasting time bemoaning “snubs” in the immediate aftermath of the initial selections, since there are none. It means that the energy invested in final-spot, get-out-the-vote drives for hometown faves is silly. It means that “x-time All-Star” does not carry the meaning it once did when measuring a player’s career.
Most importantly, it means home-field advantage for the World Series should go to the team with the best regular-season record.
You almost forget, amid the chorus of negative RSVPs, that Bud Selig’s overreaction to a tie years ago turned the midseason snooze into the arbitrary determinant of that benefit for baseball’s most important games.
That fact becomes increasingly difficult to believe with every next honoree who treats the opportunity like it’s a discount colonoscopy.
It’s bad enough that every team still has to be represented, based on the antiquated concept that all of Kansas City will be glued to their TV sets waiting for Aaron Crow to make his triumphant trip to the mound. In all likelihood, sometime today Crow will announce that he’s out with a shoulder twinge, and he’s planning to spend time with Aramis Ramirez’s family – he’s been asked to bring potato salad.
We used to really like this game, back when it was a novelty to see players from the two leagues face each other sometime before October. We remember waiting for our guy to be introduced in the pregame ceremony and later make his appearance, be it Steve Swisher or Jerry Morales, Britt Burns or Ed Farmer (yes, look it up).
But that’s over, and it’s not just because we’re older or jaded.
We see all these guys, all the time. After a while everybody plays with and against everybody, everywhere, for our consumption and enjoyment.
Does it matter that Adrian Gonzales is now lending his considerable skill to the junior circuit, after his long association with the NL? Of course not.
It may bother him, though, that his opportunity to win a championship is actually influenced by Jordan Walden pitching to Miguel Montero.
We don’t know how anybody really got to the All-Star game, if they deserve to be there, or if they even want to be. And the outcome actually has an impact on the some of the most important games in sports.
Tomorrow, Mike Quade is one of the coaches for the National League. Perfect.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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