If baseball handled its All-Star Game like hockey does

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I am not a hockey fan — I knew very little about it actually — but I am fascinated with the way they’ve handled their All-Star Game in recent years.  They used to do that North America vs. the World thing.  Now they pick a couple of captains who choose their squads, playground style.  Very cool.

Today over at FanGraphs Jonah Keri — who knows from hockey, what with him being a Canuck and all — and Dave Cameron give baseball’s All-Star Game the NHL treatment.  You can probably guess that Albert Pujols was selected first.  After that there’s a lot of room for fun debate.

I like it, but I hate that they’ve imported the “everyone must play” rule that has come to dominate the real All-Star Game. If we’re going to change things, let’s change everything and mandate that this brave new hypothetical world of All-Star Games not require the pansy player usage patterns we’ve come to expect in the Midsummer Classic.  As such — and because this is a one-game affair — a starting pitcher would have to be my first pick.

Give me Roy Halladay.  I’ll pitch him seven or eight innings and the other side will be toast.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.