Matt Wieters made his first All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday night, grounding out in his only at-bat and letting a pitch squeak by him for a passed ball. Hopefully it didn't take the luster off a well-deserved spot in the Midsummer Classic. Wieters wasn't a slam-dunk choice for the game, but it's hard to argue against his selection after he was strong defensively and serviceable at the plate in the first half of the 2011 season.
Maybe Adam Jones, the team’s best all-around player before the break, or J.J. Hardy, a semi-surprising spark plug in the absence of Brian Roberts, would have been a better choice to represent the Orioles in the All-Star Game. Or maybe you’re of the belief that each team sending a player shouldn’t be mandatory.
Last season comes to mind. The Orioles were so awful -- with no player having a stand-out first half -- that they had to send Ty Wigginton to the All-Star Game. Nothing against Wigginton, who was a great glue guy and a reliable reserve, but he was hitting .252 and his power numbers were mediocre. The Orioles didn’t deserve an All-Star, but that didn’t stop some fans from tuning in to watch Wiggy play for a few minutes.
And that is likely the biggest reason why Major League Baseball insists on its “no team left behind” policy for the All-Star Game: They want each market represented in the TV ratings for its summer showcase. I don’t know about you, but I made a point to watch just to see Wieters, so don’t expect that to change.
You can probably tell what my take on this debate is.
I am all for attempting to have a player represent each team at the All-Star Game, but it shouldn’t be mandatory. And let’s trim down the rosters a little bit while we’re at it. Being selected to the team should mean something. We had 84 All-Stars once all the injury replacements were named. Eight-four. I'm guessing the pre-game introductions took about seven hours. That's too much Joe Buck.
OK, I’m done ranting. I’ll open the forum to you.
Your turn: Should each team be represented at the All-Star Game? And what else would you change to make the game better?