2011 All-Star Roster Finalization Process Raises Question Marks

I like the MLB All-Star game... really, I do.  Of all the sports, I think that baseball does it best, however, this year has exposed a potential flaw in the way teams are selected and finalized.

The American League "roster" is composed of 43 players... of which, eight players won't even participate in the game.  The National League "roster" is composed of 42 players, of which eight players won't even participate.  In 2011, there are 85 players credited with earning All-Star status.  The initial ballot named 68 players so 17 extra players have earned All-Star honors.  The problem is that the game is obviously watered down as 13 of the original 68 true All-Stars are not playing due to injury, ineligibility (a pitcher who pitches on the last day before the All-Star game is declared ineligible) or unwillingness.  The former excuses are somewhat acceptable, in my opinion, but the latter does not sit well with many fans who invest their enthusiasm in the mantra "This One Counts." 

And then there's the issue of contract incentives and All-Star bonuses.

In total, 15 players will earn roster bonuses for making the All-Star game, including Derek Jeter (who will earn $500,000), Felix Hernandex (who will earn $50,000), Howie Kendrick (who will earn $25,000) and Jose Reyes (who will earn $50,000).  The kicker here, of course, is that those four players mentioned will not be participating in the game. 

In my opinion, there is no way around the DL issue.  It is what it is and there's really nothing that can be done when a player is truly injured but the other reasons for not playing are not so black and white.

I understand the ineligibility rules to protect pitchers but there has to be a better way to police "ineligible" pitchers and expanding rosters due to that rule.  The sticking point for me on this particular issue is that many pitchers don't even pitch in the All-Star game.  Case and point, last year, only 16 of the 30 pitchers on hand and available to pitch in the All-Star game actually played in the game so a guy like Matt Cain (who was picked by his manager) that was declared "ineligible" wouldn't have pitched anyway.  In no way am I implying that Bochy circumvented the system; I think that the door could be opened for that to happen in the future.   
Of course, the unwillingness to play by some players, namely Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, David Price and Placido Polanco is inexcusable.  Considering the amount of money that these men are paid to play a game, it's nothing short of disappointing to think that they're not willing to play.  The fans that buy All-Star games and memorabilia pay good money; money that supports the $500,000 All-Star incentive bonus that Derek Jeter will get for sitting at home.  It's disrespectful to the game and it's certainly disrespectful to the fans.  I hope that Bud Selig takes notice and employs stricter rules on bailing out of the All-Star game to prevent this from happening in the future.


  1. Polanco is injured and is traveling to the game and attending everything. I agree with Heath Bell when he says that if you do not show up you should not be considered an all star.

  2. I think that Polly is legit... the problem is that as soon as you make exceptions, it opens Pandora's box.

  3. Polanco is legit, he's going to the game, he just can't play and didn't play in the last 2 regular season games. Don't know what the answer is to stop this. What rule can you put in play?

  4. I think the answer is to restructure how the teams are constructed and how they are chosen. I would actually make all star bounuses dependent on winning the game.

  5. That would make it count, eh Michael?

    I think that you should give each team a specified number of withdrawal/ineligible/DL replacements. Maybe 2. You end up with more prima donnas than that, your team is playing with a shorter bench. Also agree with Michael- put some skin in the game for players to win and only give all-star status and bonus money to active/eligible players. You wanna pitch on the day before the all-star game, that's on you. Either make yourself eligible or forfeit your bonus.


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