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Adam Gold

MLB needs to ditch old-school thinking

Posted July 9, 2013

Sometimes baseball is its own worst enemy.

By being too "old school", Major League Baseball is jeopardizing the possibility that their fans will miss out on seeing one of the rising superstars in the All Star Game next Tuesday night in New York.

For the second straight year!

Come on, fellas! Didn't we learn from this same mistake a year ago? Remember, Bryce Harper was one of those players last year? Hot, young phenom, missed the first month of the season, wasn't selected as part of the bloated National League roster, yet given the chance to make the team in the Final Vote process on-line.

Yeah, David Freese of the Cardinals, a super young player in his own right, was selected instead. Oops!

The theory that the fans who so desperately wanted to see Harper could simply vote him onto the team backfired in spite of the national fascination with Washington's rookie outfielder. Fortunately, injuries to the roster opened up a spot and Harper was added to the team. However, armed with such recent history as a guide, MLB has invited the same issue by not including the single biggest attraction in the game today on the rosters announced this past weekend.

Yasiel Puig is the latest budding superstar in the bigs. The 6'3" 245 pound right fielder from Palmira, Cuba has only been in the big leagues since June 3, but it's almost a guarantee that he's been involved in more SportsCenter highlights this year than any player in either league in spite of being in the majors for only 33 games. Puig might be the first 6-tool player in the sport. He's batting .409 with 8 home runs, can steal bases, play the outfield and throw as well as anyone in the game. On top of that, I think he scares the heck out of opposing teams. Why on earth is he NOT already on the All Star roster -- a roster that is, today, 33-players long?

Because baseball is too far-rooted in some archaic notion of dues-paying that they've completely missed the reality that this is a FAN'S GAME and the biggest attraction in the sport is a 22-year old kid that most of the eastern time zone has only seen in 5-second intervals on ESPN. The All Star Game is an exhibition, a celebration of the sport at the highest level. It's a television show, and with any TV property the goal is to garner the highest possible ratings you can draw.

So tell me again why the sport's biggest fascination hasn't already been included?

Oh, so the fans can prove how much they want to see Puig by including him in the Final Vote.

You mean, like last year?

What if fans in Atlanta -- stop laughing -- really want to see Freddie Freeman on the team? Or how about Ian Desmond of the Nationals, who should have also already been selected as an all-star? Or, what if Dodgers fans in Southern California opt for their own Adrian Gonzalez? Why leave it up to chance? And, at the same time, why make it less likely that Freeman or Desmond find their rightful way onto the team? Granted, with injuries to Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and the possibility that Yadier Molina, the great catcher for the Cardinals, also backs out to rest an ailing knee, there figure to be roster spots opening up that Puig might be able to fill in the event the voting doesn't go his way, but why run that risk?

Need more ammunition for this foolishness? Is baseball aware that Puig had the second-most hits in a debut calendar month in the history of the sport when he collected 44 in June alone? Only player to ever register a higher total was in May of 1936 when a guy named Joe DiMaggio showed up in center field for the New York Yankees and rang up 48 base knocks.

Really, who would want to see another one of "those" players?

Wait, does baseball know that Puig collected nearly one million write-in votes for the starting line up? Not that he was even close to cracking the top three outfielders, but still it was among the highest write-in totals in the history of fan balloting and THAT has to count for something.

Nope, not in the gotta-pay-your-dues-lest-we-upset-the-nine-year-veteran-having-his-law-of-averages-breakout-season sport that baseball so embraces.

One of the chief criticisms levied against Major League Baseball over the years has been a less-than-spectacular ability to successfully promote the stars of the sport. You can't always rely on Madison Avenue to do the work for you, and baseball highlights aren't necessarily as athletically explosive as those in the NFL or the NBA. So, with the Mid-Summer Classic one week away, why can't baseball see their own forest through their own trees and recognize that the millions who will be tuning in at home -- or listening on the radio (99.9 FM The Fan) next Tuesday night -- want to see Puig and guarantee that he'll be in the National League's dugout available to help the senior circuit secure home field advantage in the World Series?

That's right, the game matters now! Even more reason to have him on the squad. Okay, for the last time, why isn't Yasiel Puig on the team yet?

Because old-school habits die hard.
 

42 Comments

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  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 11, 5:46 p.m.

    Who received a record 19.7 million votes to make the All-Star squad? Glad to see most people understand this stuff.

  • Toddler10-21 Jul 10, 6:39 a.m.

    Yeah ship I never wanted a rod from the start. We won with Scott brosus, Boone, and Hayes playing third base. As for the pirates I liked bonds during the time before the cheating. Hard not to pull for the pirates. Moreno was my favorite growing up. Tried to play just like him. I forgot to mention Madlock, and Pena. I started out as a catcher, but when I got to junior high coach hicks said you are to fast to be sitting behind the plate. Lol! Centerfield here I come. Lol! I just love me some baseball!

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 10, 6:36 a.m.

    LOL......I've said it once & I'll say it again, All-Star voting should be done by players & coaches.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 9, 10:32 p.m.

    ^can't edit....Pittsburgh

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 9, 10:31 p.m.

    Don't think puig should be there, just like Harper should not have been there last year. Hey... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    The Yankees are hanging tough as expected. I joke about the $$$ thing but NY is a class organization...just need to dump A-Rod, IMO. That's Jeter's team, as it should be. Regarding the Pirates, glad to see it. As a baseball fan, how can ya not pull for Pittsurgh? Hope the success continues for them. I remember all of the players you mentioned very well. Moreno had speed & Parker had a gun on him, good bat. The Pirates were tough back in the day. I have to go to Pittsburgh in the near future...plan to go see 'em play if I have time.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 9, 10:20 p.m.

    "What if fans in Atlanta -- stop laughing -- really want to see Freddie Freeman on the... View More

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    I can understand this comment, because Atlanta based Braves fans do not show up like they... View More

    — Posted by Leave it to Beaver Reruns

    Good point....funny thing is that Baltimore is closer to us than ATL.

  • Toddler10-21 Jul 9, 9:15 p.m.

    Don't think puig should be there, just like Harper should not have been there last year. Hey ship my Yankees are hanging in there ship with all their injuries. I'm looking forward to following the pirates the second half. Always been my second team. Moreno, Parker, Lacy, Candy, Bonilla, have all been some of my favorite ball players.

  • Leave it to Beaver Reruns Jul 9, 9:06 p.m.

    "What if fans in Atlanta -- stop laughing -- really want to see Freddie Freeman on the... View More

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    I can understand this comment, because Atlanta based Braves fans do not show up like they should. But, when you decide to put your stadium next to the old one in a section of town that not the best, you get what you ask for with attendance. Also, the fact that there are hardly no restaurants or bars right by the stadium hurts as well. I have always said that if they would have put the stadium in the north part of town, it would have so much better attendance numbers.

    What I did not like was when I was listening to the show, and Adam made the same remark, but made it more about Braves fans and not Atlanta based Braves fans. Of course Joe chimes in with his worthless snark/snicker, but there are a ton of Braves fans (me included) that would love to be able to go to a ton of games, but Atlanta is not really down the street from here.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 9, 8:07 p.m.

    "By being too "old school", Major League Baseball is jeopardizing the possibility that their fans will miss out on seeing one of the rising superstars in the All Star Game next Tuesday night in New York." AG

    Negative! Puig is gonna be around for years to come.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Jul 9, 7:45 p.m.

    Puig has played in 33 of 88 games. Yeah, he's an all-star. LOL

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