Midsummer Classic carries too much clout for an exhibition

Posted July 16, 2010, at 7:40 p.m.

    Another All-Star game, more pageantry, the National League finally wins one and to the victor goes the World Series home-field advantage.

NL and Philly manager Charlie Manuel said to me before the game, “I’m going to meet with these guys (his players) in just a minute and tell them how important it is to win this thing. That home field advantage matters. We (the Phillies) sure would like to have had it against the Yankees last year. It mattered.”

Joe Girardi, the Yankee and AL manager said, “I’ll tell you this, I certainly was happy we had the home field edge.”

In the locker room, two longtime baseball people, player/manager types, are bemoaning the fact the All-Star game decides home field.

“This just can’t go on,” says one. “This is an exhibition game, that’s what it is. That can’t decide something as important as World Series home field.”

The other agrees, but with little hope that will soon change.

Since 1980, eight World Series have gone to seven games and the home team has won all eight.

The NL victory is its first since home field has been determined by the midsummer classic.

It is an exhibition game. Evidence the rules.

One team has 14 pitchers and the other 13. No one can explain how that happened. It was part of the shuffle of players coming and going off the rosters right up until the last day.

Players were being named to the All-Star teams when they could not play, like pitchers who pitched Sunday. Under new rules instituted this year, they could not pitch.

So, why name them?

Their contracts had All-Star clauses for money, like $50,000 if they made the team. They got the bucks if they were named, even if they didn’t play.

The rules on the designated player, the one who could come back into the game to replace an injured player, were murky at best.

That is an All-Star rule.

The DH is now to be used in every All-Star game whether played in an American or National League park. That rule applies in no other game.

It makes no sense to play 162 games and have the World Series advantage based on one exhibition game played by different rules.

Still, it was a good game with some nice stories.

Arthur Rhodes, at age 40, was the oldest player on the teams. He lost his 5-year-old son to illness two years ago. He wished the boy were there to see this. “He’s right behind the mound with me,” said Rhodes.

Torii Hunter of the hometown Angels received rousing applause for his at-bats. “The crowd was great,” he said after the game. “They got me too energized at the plate. I didn’t have good at-bats.”

Vladimir Guerrero, a longtime Angel, came back as a Ranger since the Angels let him go after last season. In the three All-Star games played in Anaheim, there has not been an Angel starter.

Here was Guerrero starting. Ouch.

Good game, great spectacle, wrong impact.

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