Mid Summer Classic

The Mid Summer Classic lived up to its name.  This year?s game was hard fought battle between two teams that wanted to win.  Gone is the perception that Baseball?s All Star Game is just an exhibition.  This game mattered not only because it determined home field advantage for the World Series, not just because the National League wanted to end the AL?s winning streak, but because its Baseball?s way of saying Thank You to the fans.

The best players in the world played yesterday, with the rosters being determined by the voting of the fans.  Many people are critical of that system, and want it to be changed, but I have to object to that.  I say no way, I say let the fans vote.  We owe them that privilege for their continued love and support of baseball.  I have said many, many times that baseball does not belong to the players, nor to the owners, but that it belongs to the fans.  They might not always be right, and it?s inevitable that deserving guys will be left off the roster, but generally speaking the fans get it right.  Voting gives the fans a chance to show their love for their favorite players.  It also gives them a chance to be involved in the game.  To take their vote away would be like a slap in the face.

People are also critical of Commissioner Selig for giving home field advantage to the winning league.  I think that criticism is unfair as well.  When the 2002 All Star game ended in a tie, the commissioner was berated with criticism when in fact the two managers should have taken the heat for playing everyone instead of being prepared for extra innings.  After that outcome, he decided to make sure everyone knows that the game matters, and that it is not just an exhibition.  The game is at its best when the best players assemble and play hard, and play to win.  The fans want to see a winner, and they want to see good baseball, which is what happens when the game is taken seriously.  Just look at how great the last two All Star games have been.

I commend Commissioner Selig for this year?s Classic, as it was a tremendous success.  I also commend the city of Pittsburg for being wonderful hosts.  The player s are to be commended for representing Major League Baseball to the highest degree of class, dignity and character, and for giving the fans the game they wanted to see. 

Last, but certainly not least, I commend the fans for their tremendous support, continued interest and love for the greatest game in the world, baseball.

4 Comments

Dear Mr.Lasorda,
You’re right this was a tremendous All-Star game; there was power, speed, strategy and drama…I’m from France. I’m a baseball fanatic. My first exposure to baseball was in 1990. You see in France, there was virtually no baseball coverage

back then…that hasn’t changed unfortunately! There was however back in 1990 a baseball tape on sale; it explained the rules of the game with real game highlights. Then for about 45 mins there were highlights of the 1988 World Series…I was thrilled by these games and all these late heroics, clutch hitting, terrific pitching. I became an instant fan of the game. K.Gibson’s HR was truly a classic display of strength, guts, courage you name it…My first exposure to baseball as a 12 year-old couldn’t have been better; great baseball, great team, great manager! Thanks for all these memories.

Best regards,

Julien (France)

julientombeur@mlblogs.com

Sorry, got mixed up with the URL: julientombeur.mlblogs.com
Best regards,

Julien

(tombeur.julien@wanadoo.fr)

Tommy, I know you know this game a lot more than I do. And I would have to agree with you that this was a pretty good summer classic that was competitive with high energy and drama. The American is dominating the National league right now. If this continues, some are going to question this format of determining where the Fall Classic is played. In the NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major league Soccer, the allstar games are nothing but exhibitions. They don’t have a problem with that. Why does Major league Baseball?

I don’t understand what is wrong with it being an exhibition game? Does everything have to be win or lose?

I agree the Commish did take a lot of heat for that tie game. But, I interpreted that backlash as being because he didn’t know what to do about a tie.

However, I think it’s the ‘win or lose’ attitude of the sport networks that pushed for it to ‘mean something’ because thier ratings were lagging. When in reality the ratings were probably still being effected by the lockout/strike (my older brother who grew up bleeding Dodger blue still doesn’t watch baseball becuase of that strike).

We can see further evidence of the sport’s networks attitude towards every game ‘meaning’ something if we just look at the Little League debacles of late. Like the kid playing in the wrong age group, the coaches not adhereing to the ‘everyone plays’ policy and the coaches finding loopholes to forfeit other teams…

A team can lose and still have fun…noone ever says that anymore…fun…can’t they?

I think it is more important to make the All Star game just for fun, for the kids. That way they see MLB promotin fun and playing just to play…then they can understand that on their own local baseball teams.

Tommy I think one your greatest assets was that you could teach players, who had a lot of pressure on them to perform, how to win by having fun…could anyone not smile when you were in the vicinity?

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