As I lamented last week, the All-Star Game counts now. It shouldn’t given how much a of a circus it is from a purely competitive baseball standpoint, but it does count. And today is the tenth anniversary of the thing that led to this state of affairs: the ugly 2002 All-Star Game which ended in a tie when each side ran out of players.
Chris Jaffe has a remembrance of that over at The Hardball Times today. It just warms my heart to recall a game reaching the end of regulation play with only Vicente Padilla and Freddy Garcia available and hitters like Jose Hernandez and Tony Batista taking the key at bats. Star power, baby.
The thing about it: Bud Selig’s solution of making the All-Star Game count for home field advantage has done little to change the approach of the All-Star Game managers. Sure, there are now safeties in place to ensure that teams can reuse position players and hold pitchers in reserve, but the underlying dynamic which led to the trouble — managers trying to give everyone playing time and all the truly great players being showered and gone by the time the game reaches the late innings — still reigns.