By Dave Wischnowsky–
(CBS) Major League Baseball has a problem.
Let’s call it the “Some-Star” Game.
On Sunday, with the National and American League All-Star lineups suffering more tweaked muscles and tender joints than, well, the Cubs, MLB announced that 16 All-Stars won’t be playing in Tuesday’s game, including 13 of the 68 originally chosen.
The league then went on to reveal that the Yankees’ David Robertson, the Rangers’ Alexi Ogando, the Mariners’ Michael Pineda, the Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero, the Diamondbacks’ Miguel Montero, the Pirates’ Kevin Correia and the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel will be the latest dwarf stars replacing the fallen ones.
Anybody want to buy a program?
Heck, I recognized more names in the Futures Game.
Now, of course, MLB can’t do anything about injuries, such as Alex Rodriguez’s bum knee or David Price’s bad back. They happen. But that hardly means that baseball can’t do anything about the All-Star Game.
It can. And it should.
Ever since the first All-Star Game was played at Chicago’s Comiskey Park as part of the World’s Fair in 1933, the game has traditionally been held on the second Tuesday in July, with no regular-season games scheduled on the day before or after.
I like the game on Tuesdays. It’s always been that way, and it feels comfortable to me. But its end result isn’t comforting and MLB needs to do away with its Tuesday tradition and make a move.
By pushing the game back to Wednesday next season.
Now, we can debate all day long whether the All-Star Game should or shouldn’t decide home-field advantage in the World Series, but the fact is, it currently does. And that means both the AL and NL should have as many of its best players available for it as possible.
But, right now, they do not.
Because, beyond the injuries suffered by a number of All-Stars this year, there’s also the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, the Rays’ James Shields, the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the Giants’ Matt Cain – a group of pitchers with a combined record of 60-31 – who all have been knocked out of Tuesday’s All-Star Game because of they started games for their own teams on Sunday.
By Major League rules, a pitcher starting on the Sunday before the All-Star break is ineligible for the game.
So, my proposal is that MLB extend the All-Star break by one day. Give players Monday and Tuesday off before the Midsummer Classic and the Thursday off after it. That way, starting pitchers who work on Sunday would have an extra day of recovery and should be rested enough to throw at least one inning in a Wednesday night All-Star Game.
Players across the league no doubt would love an extra day off in July. The fans could live with one more day without baseball (this summer in Chicago, we could use an extended break). And to fit that off day into the regular season schedule, every team could play one more doubleheader each summer (baseball needs more twinbills anyway).
So, while MLB might not be able to control its All-Stars’ injuries, it can control its All-Star Game. And if the league is really intent on making the game count for the World Series, then the teams need to be able count on having their best pitchers.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.