This season is going to be insane. 60 games played in two months and change? It will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Major League Baseball.
With the season unbeholden to all earthly rules and regulations, baseball should capitalize on this opportunity to test any of the rule changes and game developments it has discussed in year’s past. Designated Hitter the whole year for both league? That’s happening. A runner automatically on second base to start off each extra-inning game? Fire it up amigo. A stinging slap to Ben Davis’ face every time he says “Si!” after Tom McCarthy mentions the Phillies broadcasts are available in Spanish by pressing the “SAP” button? Oh my yes.
And for the love of God take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give us something different with the MLB All-Star game.
Let’s not beat around the bush. The All-Star game is a colossal waste of time. You know, I know it, Dom Brown and his All-Star selection knows it… so why are we still wasting our time? The game ended in a tie once. It determined home field advantage for the World Series for some reason for a span of 14 years and we hated the game even more. It’s the product of a bygone era when fans couldn’t see baseball’s biggest stars every night on TV and on social media.
It’s a glorified exhibition game for hungover mid-season All Stars to get two at bats, pitch an inning, shake their caps to the crowd and secretly wish they were injured so they didn’t have to come in the first place.
The NBA and NHL have both recently changed up their All-Star games. The Pro Bowl is still Godawful, but at least they’ve TRIED to make it more interesting. It still sucks and everyone hates it, but god bless them they tried.
It’s time for the MLB to do the same….and here’s how you do it for this year:
An MLB legends slow pitch softball game with fans voting for two legends (50 years or older) for each franchise. National League vs. American League. All commercial proceeds go to charity or to an organization to fight unemployment in the country.
BANG. Now you’ve got a stew going.
Take every precaution to ensure their safety if they want to play. Get them to an isolated location a week or two before and make them quarantine before the game. Test the ever-loving crap out them leading up to the game, do what you have to do to keep them safe. Use the same strategies to keep the current players safe.
It would be silly to try to determine traditional All Stars 30 games into a season. These guys are going to be burned out playing so many games in such an abridged period of time… why make them play in a pointless game where you’re basing selections on one-fifth of a regular season?
Give all players the usual five-day All-Star break. Keep the voting aspect in place for fans to select two franchise “legends” out of a pool of players for each team who are willing to play. Each player has to be 50 years of age or older. No age cap. A 68-year-old Dave Winfield wants to pour himself into his old San Diego Padres uniform and hit some bombs off 73-year-old Nolan Ryan? They’re wise and they’re spry, they know what they’re doing.
Nats fans can also vote for any Expos players. Let the Rays have Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff, because lord knows they have nobody else worth seeing over 50. Mic all the players, let us hear what they say during the entire game. Bring in Bob Uecker to call an inning or two, let’s get nuts with it.
Slow pitch only. Bring in the fences for more dingers… but added runs if you can actually clear the regulation fence of whichever stadium the game is held in. It would be a classier version of the old MTV Rock n’ Jock Softball games with more legitimate Hall of Famers and much less Bill Bellamy and Dan Cortez.
Everyone who has ever played the game is eligible to be a legend. Pete Rose waddling up to the plate, worried that his $10,000 bet on the over may not hit? Hell yes. Lenny Dykstra being held back by Carlton Fisk after being brushed off the plate with a 10 MPH lob from Roger Clemens? I want to see that more than I want to see my son succeed in life.
It’s a great chance to see guys we loved play again in a unique setting against the backdrop of the craziest season we’ll probably ever see in our lifetimes. Give us something to remember this year.