Wrong hole, Buster!

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ESPN’s Buster Olney just proposed the following on Twitter:

Idea in Monday column:Ask players in March if they will attend ASG if asked and participate if not on DL. If they decline,no name on ballot.

Obviously, this is in response to the fact that 16 players have been replaced since the All-Star Game rosters were officially announced a week ago.

But it’s such a ridiculous idea that does no one any good.

Of the 16 players replaced:

– Nine were pitchers, who aren’t listed on the ballot anyway (and six of those were scratched only because they pitched Sunday, with another getting scratched because he is on the DL).

– Six were position players nursing legitimate injuries that left them unable to play this weekend.

There were only two players actually chosen for the All-Star Game who opted out despite being able to play: Derek Jeter, who is a week removed from a DL stint caused by a strained calf, and Mariano Rivera, who was unavailable for two days last week because of a triceps strain.

In addition, there’s Aramis Ramirez, who almost certainly would have taken part in the All-Star Game if asked initially, but declined when offered a last-minute invite because he had already planned his vacation.  Technically, he was never on the team anyway.

Look, I think it’s as ridiculous as anyone that there are going to be 84 players able to call themselves All-Stars this year.  But it’s not a case of players choosing not to participate; it’s a function of MLB’s decision to bloat the rosters in a completely ridiculous fashion.

And, really, does Olney expect Jeter, one of the game’s most media-conscious players, to decide in March to rule himself out for the All-Star Game? Seriously?

Take this one back to the drawing board, buddy.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.