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AL Takes Its Time Before Winning

Yankee Stadium scoreboardThis All Star Game was as much about sending off Yankee Stadium in style as it was about celebrating the great players in the game today. Josh Hamilton's display in the home run derby certainly added one more great memory, and whatever the All Star Game lacked in pizazz it certainly made up for in sheer length. In many ways, the All Star Game this year was meant to say good bye to Yankee Stadium, but instead the game looked like it would never say farewell. The game was for the most part well-played and had its moments (Rivera taking the hill in the ninth comes to mind for me), the whole marathon will be remembered more than any singular play. At least it will be remembered for something, which Yankee Stadium deserves.

Kudos to both Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle for somehow going 15 innings without severely overtaxing a pitcher. Somehow they both managed to use most of everyone by the ninth inning while still having the capability to play several extra frames. Granted, they do have a much larger roster than normal at their disposal, but they still went a full four innings farther than the now-infamous 2002 Milwaukee tie.

What would have happened if last night's game had gone on longer? Both teams were down to their last pitcher, and both probably could have gone only one more inning maximum. There is no luxury of a tie anymore now that the All-Star game determines home field advantage for the World Series. Admittedly, situations like last night's are quite rare, but baseball dodged a pretty big bullet when Justin Morneau slid into home just ahead of Brian McCann's tag.

Still, tonight pointed out how silly baseball's current rules for the All-Star game are. I won't belabor a point that I have written about before, but I will repeat this: Major League Baseball needs to decide if the All-Star Game is an exhibition or a serious competition. Fans vote on the starting lineups like the game is an exhibition, but Major League Baseball awards World Series home field advantage like the game is a serious competition. These two will never co-exist well together, and trying to make them co-exist has led to a complicated, clumsy, and awkward system. I would prefer to make the All Star Game a complete exhibition, but clearly siding either way will result in a better system than the one in place right now.