MLB Needs to Abolish the “Every Team Needs an All-Star” Rule

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Mets

The MLB All-Star rosters were announced over the weekend, and, naturally, people are mad online. Every All-Star roster announcement in any sport is always met with scorn and the opening day of #SnubSZN, and it’s usually pretty stupid considering, and this might blow your mind, there are a ton of great players and not all of them can make it. But baseball typically has the most snubs, and that’s because they’re still clinging to the archaic rule that every team, no matter how bad or how irrelevant, needs at least one representative in the Midsummer Classic. As such, more deserving players are left off the rosters far more frequently than in other sports, many of whom are merely being punished for having good teammates (wait, did bitter NBA fans make this rule in the early 1900s?). Frankly, I’m sick of it, and you should be too.

I can’t track down the origins of the rule (that’s called Journalism, folks), but, putting on my thinking cap for a second, I’m going to guess it was created in the early stages of the All Star game as a way to expose fans to different teams and players, try and fight the inherent regionalism that has always (and always will) existed in baseball, sell tickets, and generally grow the game. Well it’s 2018. We have the internet. If you care enough about baseball to actually watch the All-Star game, you already know the Tigers stink and are way too boring to have a representative. But there’s everyone’s favorite middle reliever Joe Jimenez taking up a roster spot. Awesome. Gotta get J.A. Happ and his 4.44 ERA on the squad, you never know when you might need someone to soak up innings in an exhibition game meant to show how exciting baseball can be. Jose Berrios at least has some name recognition as a former top prospect, but he’s still not that good. I only bring these guys up because they made the team over Blake Snell, the current AMERICAN LEAGUE LEADER IN ERA. Can’t let those diehard Twins fans feel left out! Not on MLB’s watch. I actually really have no issues with the National League team besides the fact that Jesus Aguilar should be on the team, but let’s just say the Pirates don’t need an All-Star, and they definitely don’t need an All-Star if I had to google him.

This is an easy fix. Construct the rosters the same way but without feeling the need to include every team. I guarantee it’ll make everyone except the random relief pitcher who gets a nice bonus happier. I mean MLB’s marketing department is completely incompetent so maybe they feel like they need this burst of fake controversy to stay relevant, but I promise that having players fans recognize and care about play in the All-Star game is more worthwhile than having people debate snubs for a bit. Not to mention it’s just a stupid and patronizing rule. Like do they just call up a middle reliever with a 3.58 ERA on the Pirates and say “Hey, buddy, I know your team’s not doing so hot, and we feel really really bad, so how about you come down to the All-Star game pizza party? It’ll be fun! Huh, what’s that? Exciting players from the Red Sox and Yankees? The National League co-leader in home runs? The absurd story that is Max Muncy? You think they’re more worthy? Don’t worry about them, little guy, if the fans really want them in they’ll nominate them in the final vote! Now why don’t you come down to the ballpark for some hot dogs and Gatorade?” Get out of my face with that crap. The best players should go. Period. I don’t care if the entire roster comes from three teams if they’re deserving. J.A. Happ isn’t a deserving All-Star. Joe Jimenez isn’t a deserving All-Star. Felipe Vazquez isn’t a deserving All-Star. I know it’s asking a lot, but maybe one day MLB will enter this millennium and do the right thing.

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The “Is Bryce Harper a Superstar?” Debate is the Fakest, Most Contrived Talking Point in History

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So this bubbled up over the weekend. I don’t even know how widespread it was, but, because I’m a masochist, I wound up reading/watching all the think pieces that came out of Bill James, godfather of sabermetrics, and, ironically, old man yelling at clouds, said that Bryce Harper, yes, that Bryce Harper was not a superstar.

Bryce Harper is the dictionary definition of a superstar. Because MLB marketing is inept andMike Trout has the personality of a cardboard box, he’s probably the most famous player in the MLB. He’s the most entertaining player (whether you love him or hate him) in the league. He blasts million-foot home runs. He’s got an OPS over 1.000 despite pitchers breaking their backs not to give him anything to hit. He’s got a trillion dollar contract with Under Armour and his own signature shoe. If he’s not a superstar no one is.

Listen I hate these terrible “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” debates. I think they’re stupid and boring and pointless. If you’re having a legitimate debate if someone is a superstar or not (I refuse to believe this Bryce Harper “debate” was anything approaching legitimate), then they’re probably not a superstar. My superstar criteria are pretty simple: Are you 1. a top-ten player in the league? Are you 2. famous enough to have name recognition among the most casual of casual fans? Have you been 3. the best player on multiple championship teams? If you check boxes one or two, you’re probably a superstar. If you add in box 3, you’re definitely a superstar. Bryce Harper is a top-ten player and really famous. Easy.

Even though I hate these debates I feel obligated to give my own list of the current baseball superstars. It pained me not to include Joey Votto, who somehow is the least famous athlete ever despite being one of the best 10-20 pure hitters in the history of baseball:

  • Bryce Harper
  • Mike Trout
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Jose Altuve
  • Mookie Betts
  • Aaron Judge
  • Nolan Arenado
  • Giancarlo Stanton
  • Max Scherzer
  • Shohei Ohtani
  • Buster Posey

That’s it. Those are the baseball players with enough talent and name recognition to be called superstars. It wasn’t that hard to come up with the list. When I couldn’t think of any more, that was a pretty clear sign that it was time to stop. Sports aren’t nearly as complicated as we make them out to be. Bryce Harper is a superstar. Take your molten lava takes somewhere else.

My Experience at MLB Foodfest

Two hours of pure concessions and drinks for $40. Not a bad way to take ten years off your life.

I was obviously excited about this, but I wish I could go back and do it over. Not to spoil the video, but I was only able to eat 25 of the 30 entries, partly because of the time (they screw you out of at least five minutes because they don’t let anyone in until your time slot starts, but then you have to leave the second your time slot ends. Factor in lines and stuff and I didn’t get my first plate until 1:09. Sad!), and partly because I did the exact incorrect strategy. Essentially, it was a big horseshoe around the perimeter of the dining room with the booths arranged in alphabetical order by city. I started with Washington and went in a circle, both because I wanted to eat the Arizona entry last and because it was closest to the door. This was the incorrect strategy. The bottom half of the alphabet was far, far superior to the top half. If Foodfest was the NBA, N-W was the West and A-M was the East. Absolutely no contest. So while it was nice to actually enjoy all the good food, that meant I had to eat the disgusting things on a full stomach. Not a good combination. I almost puked on camera two or three times, and, had I gotten whatever the Indians thing was, I know for a fact there would have been a reversal of fortune. You can get on me for getting full off of 25 bites (another bad strategy: I took multiple bites of some of the early food because, again, it was actually good) if you want, but 95% of those things were bread heavy. And the buns were all thick, too. Too thick, if you ask me. It didn’t make for a fun morning, I can assure you.

So I missed five teams: Tigers, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Braves. As I said, the Indians Flamin’ Hot Cheeto abomination would have made me puke. The Tigers had chicken shawarma nachos, which seemed like a very bad thing to eat at 2:45. I actually had the Braves thing, which I don’t even know how to describe, in my hand, but once I got through the absolutely brutal Red Sox-Orioles combo, I couldn’t do it. I blame the coleslaw.  Coleslaw stinks and half the teams used it as a garnish. The Rockies and White Sox weren’t high priorities since they just had a regular cheeseburger and sausage, respectively, and I’ve had my fair share of both. The only sad thing is that I’m sure both were pretty good and I ate a Cheeto-lote instead. By the way, how to the Rockies not bring Rocky Mountain Oysters? I guess they figure everyone already knows the rating on them already.

Anyway, it was a good time. I hope they do it again next year (I’m sure they will), and hopefully other leagues get in the game, too. Now that I know to eat the horrifying and repulsive foods first, I think future Foodfests will be more enjoyable. Still can’t believe the Sox didn’t come with the hot lobster roll.

MLB Foodfest is Today

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It’s finally here. MLB Foodfest. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. Two hours of stuffing your face with ballpark food without the hassle of going to an actual ballpark. I may have died and gone to heaven. My time slot is 1-3pm. Will there be a video of me reviewing all 30 items? You bet your ass. Will there be Snapchat (briancurran11) and Instagram (@briansden69) story updates? Yes. Will I eat something I regret? Without question. This is going to be epic.

Now that I think about it, MLB really dropped the ball not having this on 4/20.

As for what I know you’re all really here for, yes, going to the festival will cut down on my God of War streaming today. I’ll probably hop on later tonight as I digest, so be on the lookout. If you need a fix, here’s the full streams from yesterday, when I messed around and did two separate sessions.

https://player.twitch.tv/?autoplay=false&video=v252844613Watch Brian Plays God of War pt. 1 from JarringTiger on www.twitch.tv

https://player.twitch.tv/?autoplay=false&video=v252963933Watch Brian Plays God of War pt. 2 from JarringTiger on www.twitch.tv

I’m Craving Baseball So Badly Right Now

Folks, it’s officially been Spring for three days. Go outside for two seconds and you can tell the seasons are changing: it’s 42° instead of 41°. The trees are dead and bare. There’s only two more snowstorms on the horizon. Global warming has even eliminated the nasty slush season that used to exist since the snow just melts as soon as it falls now. Just a great time to be alive. More importantly than all that, though, is that baseball is almost here.

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Opening Day is less than a week away and I could not possibly be more excited. I’m starting to get that Baseball Feeling, which is an impossible feeling to describe and I don’t know if anyone has any idea what I’m talking about, but it’s a rush of happiness and anticipation and a bunch of other stuff when I think about baseball at the end of the offseason. I did my fantasy draft already (got Kershaw, if you were wondering) (And Goldschmidt, too) (I know you care). I preordered MLB The Show 18 so I could play it early (already started my career, got picked in the 25th round by the Padres. A true rags to riches story if I’ve ever seen one) because I just needed some baseball in my life. I’m watching Spring Training games, but, just like the players, I’m a little rusty so I’m reacting like John Sterling on routine flyouts. My patented Home Run Feeling, a sixth sense that can accurately predict when home runs are imminent, is still warming up (just called Red Sox prospect Sam Travis hitting one, nbd). I’m using the word feeling way too much, but that’s because, more than any other sport, baseball fandom is all about feelings. The feeling of nostalgia you get when you enter a ballpark, thinking about the first time your dad (or mom, we don’t assume here) took you to a game. The feeling of comfort when you smell those familiar baseball smells: hot dogs, beer, peanuts, popcorn, leather, regional delicacies, and more beer. The feelings you get while watching baseball, a truly unique sports viewing experience. Games are simultaneously boring as hell and enthralling, and playoff baseball is a different animal entirely.

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Not to get all sappy or anything. I’m just jonesing for some baseball. The Red Sox are just about all I’ve got at the moment. Literally every Celtics player is out for the season. UConn basketball hasn’t been playing this deep in a season since I was still in college (yes, yes, I know the women are still there. But getting pumped up about them is like getting hyped the Earth completed a rotation). I’m not a big enough hockey guy to commit to the Bruins. Something happened to the Pats last month, but I can’t seem to remember what. I need the Sox, man. I need J.D. Martinez to hit 10 billion homers. I need Mookie Betts to the best all-around player in the American League who doesn’t play in Los Angeles. I need Chris Sale and David Price to win 40 games between them and strike out a thousand batters. I need Alex Cora to actually understand basic baseball strategy and make people want to play for him. I need ownership to try and monetize every waking moment of the game. I need every game against the Yankees to take four and a half hours. I need to be reminded that the Sox ran Don Orsillo out of town for no reason every time I turn on NESN. I just need baseball back, and I can’t wait much longer.