i don't know if this has been hashed over many time here already, but since there isn't a thread about it that i could see, i figured i might as well say my piece. so here goes.
obviously, the all-star game is supposed to be a game where we showcase not only the best players in baseball, but also the best players from each team in baseball. the game is for the fans, and frankly, it's cool. where else would we (almost) see an outfield that had 3 500 hr guys? and it's a chance for great players from smaller-market, less-liked teams to get some national face time, which is great, imo.
and that's why there are all sorts of unofficial "rules" attatched to the game: got to have a player from every team, gotta make sure every player gets to play. well, maybe not every pitcher, but most of 'em for sure!
but now, it "counts". this for-the-fans game now has implications that effect the outcome of the season in a very real, very tangible way. and since the managers went to the WS the previous year, there's naturally an incentive to try to make your team win in order to secure your team's possible home field advantage in the WS.
so this naturally puts managers in quite a fix. they touched on this on baseball tonight: it's an exibition game, but do you walkt barry bonds if pitching to him could mean you lose home field advantage?? most managers naturally would not pitch to him. but we put unfair pressure on these managers to manage the game poorly in such a way that satasfies the fans. After all, who doesn't want to see matchups like bonds vs. mulder or bonds vs. rivera? that's GREAT fun to watch!
whats more, putting the best team on the field would naturally mean not necessarily picking one player from each team and playing every player. and by being presured to pitch to hitters even when it could cost you a game 7 at home when it matters the most, the managers are asked to make poor decisions.
this all stems from the AS game a couple years back when bud selig made the CORRECT decision of calling the game before pitchers blew their arms out because managers had used up every player on their roster. (actually, i think they should've just put some short stop on the mound to lob fastballs up there for a few innings. but i definetly don't think they should've forced the pitchers to keep playing). in response for being unfairly blaimed for this, selig did something very dumb: he made an exibition game count.
by giving managers some incentive to try to win and plan for extra-inning games, selig hoped to avoid the AS game tie problem. but all that he did was to put managers in a REALLY tough spot, asking them to play baseball by different rules.
it was arbitrary before, and that's how it should stay. as it is, managers can effect the outcome by managing the game in a way that is not the way fans want to see it played. they also get pressure to play inferior players just so that everyone can get in the game.
oh, and fans decided the starting lineup for a game with major implications. FANS help decide where the WS is played... what a load of crap.
make the AS game exibition or make it count, but don't try to have it both ways.