So Eric Kay of CBS Sportsline has this stupid on-going thing in his column collecting what should be new rules in baseball. A few are actually decent points that I agree with. For instance, I too am in favor of a salary cap in baseball and am opposed to the all-star game determining home field advantage in the World Series.
Most of the "new rules" are stupid and don't actually apply to real baseball rules at all.
Essentially, his readers submit suggestions for rule changes in baseball, he picks his favorite, then presents them on his page for people to vote on. The newest post pertains to "No more token All-Stars in Midsummer Classic." The proposed rule, as submitted by one reader:
"Eliminate the rule that requires every team to have a representative at the All-Star Game. If your team stinks, then your team stinks. As a Pirates fan, it's more embarrassing to have a sub-par 'All-Star' take the field than to have none at all. No more 'Charity All-Stars.'"
My interpretation of this suggestion is that if a team does not have a player having a season worthy of the All-Star game, then that team does not get to send someone. If a team that sucks however has a player that's doing awesome, that player should still be able to go. For instance, the 2003 Rangers were 38-55 at the All-Star break. However, they happened to have that season's MVP in Alex Rodriguez. But yeah, back to the existing rule that each team must be represented.
This is a matter that I'm not sure where I stand. I see plus and minus to it. I'm sure it'd be possible to put together quite an atrocious "All-Star" roster comprised solely of undeserving players there purely because of the rule making sure each team is represented. For instance, I'm sure no one really supported Mark Redman being an All-Star in 2006. The 2006 Royals were a pretty bad team. On the other hand, good teams do not always deserve an All-Star either. For instance, Eddie Guardado did not deserve the All-Star appearance that he got in 2003. If any Twin deserved to go that year, and that's a big if, it should have been Latroy Hawkins. But setup men don't go to the All-Star game. It's for starters & closers.
Anyways, getting to my point. Eric Kay's response to this suggestion is this:
"Applied to this past game, there's a chance we'd have no Cristian Guzman, Nate McLouth, Adrian Gonzalez, Joakim Soria, Carlos Guillen or George Sherrill despite their merits if there wasn't the pressure to include players from struggling teams."
Is he suggesting that the only reason these players were in the All-Star game is because of the obligatory All-Star rule? Or is he suggesting that if a team is subpar, they don't deserve to send an All-Star? Either way, he's stupid.
A case can definitely be made for perhahs Guzman, Guillen, or Sherrill not deserving an All-Star appearance and are only there because no one on their team is having a spectacular season. But McLouth, Gonzalez, and Soria? Are you kidding me? These guys are tearing it up. In fact, I voted for McLouth to start in OF for the NL. Kay basically checked to see what teams have poor records, saw who their lone all star was, and assumed that they don't deserve an appearance.
McLouth is batting .280/.356/.539 with 19 homers and 65 RBI. Gonzalez has a line of .279/.349/.507 with 22 homers and 71 RBI. Soria has pitched 43 innings of relief, and is sporting a 1.47 ERA, 0.721 WHIP with 46 Ks while allowing 22 hits. That ain't bad.
All three perfectly deserving of their All-Star status. On the other hand, the hell was Carlos Marmol doing being on the All-Star roster? He got on the roster as an injury replacement to his Cubs teammate Kerry Wood. Someone like, you know, Johan Santana perhaps could've served as a more deserving replacement than Carlos Marmol. I'm sure there are other pitchers who were not All-Stars that deserved it more than Marmol, but Johan is the easy name to use here.
Side note: The Twins All-Star reps in 2001 were Matt Lawton, Joe Mays, and Eric Milton. I like their three this year a bit better: Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, and Justin Morneau.