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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Without using the R word Minnesota Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson made a veiled accusation that teams in Major League Baseball are guilty of racism for not signing older black players to contracts this year.

Specifically Hudson referred to 36 year-old Jermaine Dye and 41 year-old Gary Sheffield who remain unsigned as the season begins.

But is racism the reason that Dye and Sheffield aren’t playing baseball this season.  Dye who hit 27 home runs for the Chicago White Sox reportedly had offers from both the Washington Nationals which could use another power hitter and the Chicago Cubs but turned them down since they offered far less than the $11.5 million he made in 2009.

Sheffield who has bounced around baseball and has hit 509 home runs in a 21-year career has seen his productivity drop considerably in the last three years.  Once a reliable 20 plus  a year home run guy he managed to hit just 10 last year in 100 games with the New York Mets and has lost some foot speed as well. He too has apparently turned down offers.

Hudson though ignores the fact that Dye has offers but would rather not play than accept a lower salary, and that Sheffield’s is not the player he once was.

In order to support his bogus claim he cites the salaries given to some white ballplayers whose production has sagged recently as evidence of racism.  What Hudson fails to note is that those players are signing for far less money that Dye made last year and apparently was willing to accept.

It’s not racism it’s economics.  Thanks to the recession which has reduced gate receipts owners for the first time are beginning to treat their teams more like a business which means that they should only pay a player what they think he is worth or what the market will bear.  For Dye and Sheffield it isn’t $10 plus million a year.

Hudson needs to remove the chip off his shoulder and just concentrate on playing baseball.  If Dye and Sheffield really want to play this year then she should accept salaries that are more commensurate with the market and not let someone like Hudson whine and try to play the race card.

Political correctness has no place in sports and those that try to change the game to reflect their views should either keep them to themselves or get out.