The Futures Game has featured the top prospects in the world going head-to-head. It’s not been really widely viewed, however, as it is usually played on the Sunday afternoon before the All-Star break when literally all 30 MLB teams are playing. Prospects are fun, but hardly anyone is going to choose to watch a prospects all-star game over a big league game that counts.
For years I and others have advocated moving the game to Monday and pushing the rest of the All-Star festivities back a day, but no one in charge is all that interested. This year, though, they’ve at least made a slight improvement: they’re moving the game to Sunday evening at 7PM, around the time the west coast games end. It’ll be broadcast live on MLB Network.
But what MLB giveth, MLB taketh away: they’re reducing the length of the game from nine to seven innings. Which, OK, exhibition, fine. Maybe if they ditched the celebrity softball game everyone cares about even less they’d have room for a full game, but I’m out of the business of putting suggestions in the league’s All-Star break suggestion box now that I got at least something from ’em.
There will be one other change too: for the past 19 years of the 20-year history of the Futures Game it has featured prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. This year they’re going back to the format from the first Futures Game and are making it National League vs. American League prospects. That’s probably good to change up, frankly. They should make the MLB All-Star Game change formats like that from time to time, too. Especially now that interleague play has rendered AL vs. NL nothing special.