Growing up as a child I can remember sitting by my transistor radio (remember them) listening faithfully to my beloved but hapless Washington Senators.  Those were the days of Dick Bosman, Eddie Brinkman, Toby Harrah and local hero and fan favorite Frank Howard who was the Senators version of Harmon Killebrew without the patience at the plate.

Every July I would look forward to baseball’s mid-summer classic the All-Star game where I could watch the true stars of the game play for bragging rights as to which league had the superior talent.

Back then the stars were selected by players and managers and the system worked well and television ratings were solid as cable television and the internet didn’t exist to coax viewers away.

Gradually MLB gave fans some say in the game by allowing fans to vote their favorites in changing the game from one where the best players of the year were selected to one where popularity mattered more than statistics.  And that was all well and fine since if that’s who the fans want to watch then they should be able to.  Then they made another change requiring that every team have at least one representative further diluting the worth of a selection to the team.  However this year so many players that were voted in opted out of playing due to injury or other reasons that the game became a farce.

Predictably then without Derek Jeter and other big name stars playing the ratings sank to an all-time low.

As someone who throughout my childhood and teenage years who rarely missed an All-Star game I pretty much forgot about it and only checked the score a couple of times on the internet.

If baseball wants to revive fan interest in the game they need to let the fans both the best players in, drop the one representative per team requirement and limit the number of substitutes if a player is injured and can’t play.  Since the game has little significance except to gain home field advantage in the World Series (another dumb idea) who cares if the team has a full roster?  Just set a maximum number of players per team of 30 and let the chips fall where they may.

The current system cheapens the value of an All-Star selection and is more about being politically correct than promoting the national pastime and it’s time to put an end to this folly.

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