Baseball All-Star game still poses plenty of questions

Monday, July 14, 2003

Just before the Midsummer Classic Tuesday night, I'd like Bud Selig to sit down with Joe Buck for a good ol' fashioned live interview to answer for his great declaration that was supposed to bring fans back to the game.

The new format raises a plethora of managerial questions he could explain with ease. Like, why expand the rosters to 32 players? Why even take the starters out? If you're trying to win the game, why not keep Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols in the game since they're the best of the best?

Surely he'd be able to explain why he let the players vote in the reserves while the fans elected the starters. Doesn't that tilt the outcome?

The honest answer would be this: The All-Star game will never be competitive as long as it's played in the middle of the season. Too many things can go wrong for players on winning clubs.

Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca, for example, reportedly phoned Mike Scioscia and requested that 'Jays starter Roy Halladay be kept out of the game completely because he would be pitching on three days rest.

The All-Star game won't be moved to the end of the of the season, either. The MLB season already drags on far too long, and fans and teams need the All-Star break to take a breather (even if it is for only three days).

Besides, if the game was after the World Series, who would remember which players to elect to the All-Star rosters? No one even remembers who won last year's game.

Say, who won last year's game anyway? Oh, that's right.

If you're not planning on watching this year's game, check out the other two All-Star games in the area and the rest of your week ahead:


Bud Selig's weak attempt to salvage the excitement that once surrounded the MLB All-Star game seems like a used-car salesman trying to sweeten a sale by throwing in some free "extras." But there are no ad campaigns here. Just some good, clean, fun among the best of the better. The Triple-A All-Star game is preceded by a day of autographs, live music, home run derbys, games and plenty of food. Complimentary tickets are available at the Redbirds box office for the Triple-A All-Star FansFest that begins at noon at AutoZone Park in Memphis.


The Gateway Grizzlies will host the Casino Queen Frontier League All-Star Game this year. And fans who arrive early will receive a Danny Cox (the former Cardinal player and current Grizzlie manager) All-Star Bobblehead. 7 p.m.

The 2003 Triple-A All-Star game begins at 7 p.m., and the first 10,000 fans receive a commemorative ticket and lanyard. Looking for a reason to go see a bunch of players you don't know? Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano, Jason Isringhausen, Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza and Todd Helton have each participated in the event.


Every now and then opportunities come along that draw families closer together. Sometimes it's star-searching at a minor league All-Star game and other times it's father and son drooling over Anna Kournikova. Anna comes to the Gateway City (remember, it's the city of opportunity) to take on the St. Louis Aces at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park.


The first of two big races this weekend takes place at Nashville Super Speedway, the site of the Indy Racing League's Firestone Indy 200. Qualifying begins at 3:45 p.m. for the Firestone Indy 200, and the Infiniti Series race starts at 7:15 with the Indy race on Saturday.

Spectator gates open at 10 a.m.,] for practice and qualifying for the second race this weekend: the Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200, part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Gateway International Raceway near Madison, Ill.


The actual Indy race in Nashville is on Saturday. The gates open at 2 p.m., and Wynonna Judd kicks off the event with a concert at 4:30.

Gates open at 4 p.m. for the eight o'clock 160 lap Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway. Last year's race was won by Terry Cook.

David Wilson is a sportswriter for the Southeast Missourian and a student at Central High School. His column appears every Monday.

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