Skippers should choose All-Star starters on field
With Series advantage at stake, it's only right to have best lineups
As a former player and one-time All-Star, I love the Midsummer Classic. It is a chance for the great fans of our game to see the very best players in our game in one stadium on one day.
The fans vote for their favorite players to be involved in the game -- not only involved, but to start at their respective positions. I really like that the fans get to vote for their favorite players. Before home-field advantage in the World Series rode on the outcome, I had no problem with the fans choosing the starting players. After all, without fans we'd have no game. Therefore their voice should be heard.
That being said, with something at stake, there must be at least one more change made.
I still believe the fans should be heard, and their favorite players should be voted to the team with a guarantee that they will see them play in the game.
But if you ask the players how big of an advantage home field is in a seven-game series, they would tell you it is huge. So, the manager for each club ought to decide who the starting position players will be, based on the opposing team's starting pitcher.
During the regular season, a manager will put together a lineup that he believes gives his team the best chance against the opponent. Since the All-Star Game carries such a huge reward, the game must be played like any other game.
There are players who are voted in due in large part to their past successes instead of their current seasons. I don't have a problem with that at all. They are voted on by the fans because they have been great players and great representatives of baseball. But in the year 2011, there may be other players who can give a team a better chance to win.
The fans' choices would still be members of the All-Star rosters and should at least be guaranteed to play at some point in the game. But the managers are both worthy of putting together lineups that give them the best chance to win. They both managed their clubs to the World Series the previous year.
I like that the All-Star Game victor earns a reward for their league. Any true fan who roots for either the American or National League and believes that his or her home team has a chance to make it to the World Series should be all for the manager putting a lineup on the field that gives them the best chance of having home-field advantage in a World Series.
If there is a Yankees fan out there who thinks a Boston Red Sox player gives the AL a better chance to win the All-Star Game even if it means that one of the Yankees players might not start, I am sure that they would want that Red Sox player to start. For one day -- as bad as they may hate to do it -- they will root for a player on a rival team if that player gives them a better chance to win the game. Even if it means their favorite player didn't start.
Mitch Williams is a studio analyst for MLB Network. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.