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Lets Redesign MLB All-Star Week

Last week, our Jeremy Nygaard designed an overhaul to Major League Baseball’s regular season after Rob Manfred’s ideas of restructuring the playoffs for 2022. Below is a proposed redesign for MLB’s All Star Weekend that will result in better marketing and showcasing of the sports best players.
Image courtesy of © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, our Jeremy Nygaard designed an overhaul to Major League Baseball’s regular season after Rob Manfred’s ideas of restructuring the playoffs for 2022. Below is a proposed redesign for MLB’s All Star Weekend that will result in better marketing and showcasing of the sports best players.

In the overhaul mentioned above, teams will be provided with an entire week for All-Star festivities which will begin in the last few days of June and extend into the beginning of July. The redesign of the All-Star festivities are inspired from the three other major american sports.

Total All-Stars Selected
There will be 60 All-Stars selected which is about 15 less than normal. The position you play...doesn’t matter. The team you play for...doesn’t matter. The league you play in...doesn’t matter. Lets see the top sixty players in baseball compete.

How All-Stars Will Be Selected
This week is as much for the fans as it is for the players (and their bonuses), so a fan vote is still important and will account for the first 45 or, 75-percent, of the players selected. The next six, or ten-percent, of the players will be selected by the Baseball Writers’ of America Association (BBWAA). The next six, or ten-percent, of the players will be selected by the players and managers of MLB. The final three, or five-percent, of the players will be selected through an objective process using WAR. This will hopefully reduce the number of “snubs” by having so many different parties having a say in who is selected.

Competitions for the Week
The Futures Game and Celebrity Softball game will still be part of the week. The rest week will be filled with both individual and team based competitions. Being that players weren’t named All-Stars by position there won’t be a formal baseball game played at all during the week. Why is that? The first thing that comes to mind when I think of any of the four major sports most recent All-Star weekends is how Jarvis Landry dominated a game of dodgeball, how Ja Morant threw an alley-oop to Zion Williamson, or Luka Doncic and Trae Young making shots from half court. I can’t tell you who won any of the actual games. MLB All-Star Week will be filled with mini-games where players can win individual awards as well as an overall team award.

Individual Competitions - these are optional for players to participate in and, when noted, will have limits on how many players can participate. To encourage players to participate, their results could impact the weekend down the road.
  • Home Run Derby (top eight All Stars by home run) - very similar to the current format but instead of total home runs hit, players will advance by their home run distance. When I say advance, I mean lets ditch the bracket and lets see the top-four (of eight) advance to the semi-final, and the top-two advance to the final. Again, home run distance is all that matters.
  • Skills Course (no limit) - players will start in centerfield and perform the following skills. Like the NBA Dunk Contest, there will be a panel of former players and manager or BBWAA members to assign a score to the fielding parts of the competition.
    • Players will attempt to rob one home run ball
    • Players will return to centerfield and attempt to make a diving catch on a short flyball
    • Players will move into shortstop and attempt to field one ground ball and make an accurate throw to first.
    • Players will move in front of the pitchers mound and throw one ball as hard as they can. They will earn a score on a 10-points scale based on their speed
    • Players will move to the batter's box and perform two bunts. They will earn a score out of 10 points based on where the ball lands in a grid that is painted on the field.
    • On the second bunt, the player will immediately run to first base (the clock starts when the bat makes contact with the ball or when the ball crosses home plate if the bunt is missed). Players will earn a score out of 10 points based on their time to first base.
  • “Top Golf” (no limit) - players will essentially take batting practice but will attempt to hit certain targets on the field. Like “Top Golf”, you will get points for how close to the center of the target you hit and how far away the target is from home plate.
Team Competitions - there will be 15 teams (four players per team). The top 15 fan vote getters will be captains and will draft three additional players. The teams will be separated into three pools (five teams per pool) and will compete against one other team in the competitions below. The winner from each pool and one wildcard will then advance to a bracket style wiffle tournament. Any pool tiebreakers will be broken based on the scores of the individual competition that each teammate participated in.
  • Dodgeball - no special rules, just your classic “dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge” game. Last man standing gets a win for their team.
  • Stolen Base Challenge - one team will try to steal second. The other team will have a pitcher, catcher, first basemen, and shortstop ready to try and pick off the runner or throw him out on the steal attempt. Once all four runners have gone, the teams will flip flop roles. Team with the most stolen bases wins. If there is a tie, teams will compete in an NHL shoutout-esque stolen base-off.
  • Glove Flip Game (best of three) - this is a very popular game that amateur players play before the actual game starts. Eight players will stand in a circle, alternating a representative from each team, and use their gloves to flip the ball continuously until the ball hits the ground. There will be a judge on whether it was a bad flip or a miss and that player will be assessed a strike. Three strikes and you’re out. Traditionally, a player will turn his hat sideways after strike one, backwards after strike two, and then they’re out after strike three.
The Primetime Wiffle Ball Tournament
In place of the traditional All-Star Game, the three pool winners and one wild card will compete in a wiffle ball tournament. To air three games during primetime, a new inning will not start once the game is 30 minutes old. There will not be any baserunning and hitters will start with a 1-1 count (like slow pitch softball) and pitchers will throw at a wiffle ball strike zone. There will be one pitcher and three fielders, and the field will be set up as seen below.


Attached Image: Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 7.43.07 PM.png

Admittedly, a radical idea with a lot of intricacies and explaining it by word definitely makes it overwhelming to imagine. Looking at the three other major American sports, it seems “mini competitions” are taking over their All-Star festivities. My thoughts are that there is no better way to grow the game, especially with the youth, then allow the professionals to relive their youth in front of a national audience.

What do you think? Should the current set up be left as-is? What would you change?

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23 Comments

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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 26 2020 07:13 AM
I had to double check to see if this was satire or Stu angling for some laughs. The current setup is great as baseball is the only of the four major sports that can present an All-Star game that is very nearly the same as a competitive regular season game. The mini games and competitions talked about bore me. The home run derby is enough.
    • ScottyB, chpettit19, JoshDungan1 and 1 other like this
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 07:46 AM

As a disclaimer: this is an idea to solve a marketing problem more than an All-Star Game problem. That said, many people will take this as me saying there is something wrong with the game itself. I, a baseball fanatic, enjoy All-Star Week. The rest of America doesn't necessarily feel the same. Proof is in the ratings...

 

https://twitter.com/...0706182144?s=20

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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 07:49 AM

 

I had to double check to see if this was satire or Stu angling for some laughs. The current setup is great as baseball is the only of the four major sports that can present an All-Star game that is very nearly the same as a competitive regular season game. The mini games and competitions talked about bore me. The home run derby is enough.

As someone who comes to a baseball site like Twins Daily, it's not surprising that you (and I and most everybody on this site) enjoy the game the way it is. The fact is, the popularity of baseball as a whole and, specifically the All-Star Game, has been declining for all of America consistently for the last 10 years.

 

I'm not saying my idea is the best idea, but it wouldn't hurt to try something new to market your sport and players.

    • Vanimal46 and JosiahDeBoer like this
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 08:11 AM

 

As a disclaimer: this is an idea to solve a marketing problem more than an All-Star Game problem. That said, many people will take this as me saying there is something wrong with the game itself. I, a baseball fanatic, enjoy All-Star Week. The rest of America doesn't necessarily feel the same. Proof is in the ratings...

 

https://twitter.com/...0706182144?s=20

To be fair and transparent, in 2019 baseball did have the best numbers out of the 4 major sports in terms of their All-Star games. That said, if we look at the bigger picture...21.2 million people watched Game 7 HOU v. WSH and 98.2 million people watched the Superbowl. 

 

Baseball, or any sport, will likely never trump Super Bowl ratings but a difference of 77 million people is staggering. The bigger picture is that we need to draw more people into the sport.

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MMMordabito
Feb 26 2020 09:36 AM

I would be all for a longer summer baseball break.That's what the All-Star break is for me. 3-4 days to turn off baseball and know that I'm not missing anything.The celebrity of the players doesn't intrigue me, so watching them play Top Golf is total non-draw.

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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 09:58 AM

 

I would be all for a longer summer baseball break.That's what the All-Star break is for me. 3-4 days to turn off baseball and know that I'm not missing anything.The celebrity of the players doesn't intrigue me, so watching them play Top Golf is total non-draw.

I think my point in the marketing issue is not about being a "celebrity", but it's the fact that a vast majority of the world knows who LeBron James and Tom Brady are whether you follow the NBA or NFL or not. I would guess that if you don't follow MLB at all you likely don't know who Mike Trout is and he is projecting to be the greatest baseball player of all-time. 

 

Again, it's not about the "celebrity" it's about marketing and branding in sport that is fading out.

    • Vanimal46 likes this
The skills competition in that format would not be approved by the Player’s Association. Diving and trying to rob homeruns just screams injury risk.
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 12:02 PM

 

The skills competition in that format would not be approved by the Player’s Association. Diving and trying to rob homeruns just screams injury risk.

I did think about that but I also figured that anything can happen during the current format of the homerun derby and All-Star Game. If the Player's Association thinks swinging a bat as hard as you can repeatedly for minutes at a time is not a risk then I wouldn't think diving once and jumping against a padded wall once would be any more or less of a risk. 

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woolywoolhouse
Feb 26 2020 01:47 PM

Instead of skills or Dodgeball, get teams of five MLB Legends competing in a game of BASEketball. Psyche-outs included.

15780_1.jpg

    • GP830 and Matthew Lenz like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 26 2020 02:16 PM

As someone who comes to a baseball site like Twins Daily, it's not surprising that you (and I and most everybody on this site) enjoy the game the way it is. The fact is, the popularity of baseball as a whole and, specifically the All-Star Game, has been declining for all of America consistently for the last 10 years.
 
I'm not saying my idea is the best idea, but it wouldn't hurt to try something new to market your sport and players.

I understand the desire to increase the popularity of baseball to ensure it stays healthy in the future. That being said, I have come to the conclusion that baseball is fine how it is (for the most part) and we need to let the game stand on its own merits. I am not against change, I just don't want to compromise the integrity of the sport and throw away everything, including strong aspects. This (and other similar studies) have been showing up the last few years so there are some signs baseball might see a revival: https://www.google.c...om/amp/40002827

I'd love to see skills competition that is informed by Stat Cast numbers. For instance, the 5 fastest base stealers according to stat cast go head to head. Top five exit velo guys go head to head. Etc. 

    • Matthew Lenz likes this

 

Instead of skills or Dodgeball, get teams of five competing in a game of BASEketball. Psyche-outs included.

15780_1.jpg

Can't wait to see Bauer psych out Bregman...

    • woolywoolhouse and Matthew Lenz like this
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woolywoolhouse
Feb 26 2020 02:21 PM

 

Can't wait to see Bauer psych out Bregman...

 

"Hey Bregman! I hear your sister is going out with Squeaks!"

    • GP830 and Matthew Lenz like this
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 03:01 PM

 

Instead of skills or Dodgeball, get teams of five MLB Legends competing in a game of BASEketball. Psyche-outs included.

15780_1.jpg

And wouldn't that be entertaining??? You're inviting an audience who maybe doesn't like baseball but loved this movie to watch baseballs biggest stars have a little fun. I'm in!

    • woolywoolhouse likes this
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 26 2020 03:12 PM

 

I would be all for a longer summer baseball break.That's what the All-Star break is for me. 3-4 days to turn off baseball and know that I'm not missing anything.The celebrity of the players doesn't intrigue me, so watching them play Top Golf is total non-draw.

I don't see why this needs to take but maybe one extra day, if that. The mini competitions can happen on the same day.

I appreciate the thoughts but it doesn’t really do much for me. If they want to assure I’ll watch it there’s one simple change they need to make: have it mean something again (winning league gets home field in the WS)

This is GREAT !!! Confuse us older folks. Make the whole thing more incomprehensible. Thats the way to entertain your loyal fanbase.:)

Just eliminate inter-league games....which serve no purpose in 2020, other than to create unfair/unbalanced scheduling quirks. You automatically have a game both fans and players are more interested in. 

No. I just can't get excited about any of this. MLB needs to attract people to the regular season and the competition there. Artificial competitions like this just seem to miss what we want to sell that the sport itself is a beautiful thing. What baseball always has going against it is that it takes more than one game to settle a championship. Football lines up and in three weekends or off to the super bowl and everybody had a chance to get into those playoffs and work their way through the system. While in baseball we keep trying to extend playoffs so we don't have a one game play in, we don't want to have five game series and so it goes off over the same number of weeks but every day and storylines get stale. Even the regular season has been hit with the same problem. Yes the length of game is an issue and needs to be changed I don't know how they'll do it but I would like to see it, however 154 games for whatever reason seem to work so well and 162 began the era of too many games. With so many of the games not counting for anything. To then take the All-Star break and make a series of games that do not really relate to what baseball is delivers the message that maybe baseball isn't that interesting or good. Thanks for the effort but I can't go with this
    • chpettit19 likes this

 

I think my point in the marketing issue is not about being a "celebrity", but it's the fact that a vast majority of the world knows who LeBron James and Tom Brady are whether you follow the NBA or NFL or not. I would guess that if you don't follow MLB at all you likely don't know who Mike Trout is and he is projecting to be the greatest baseball player of all-time. 

 

Again, it's not about the "celebrity" it's about marketing and branding in sport that is fading out.

People know Tom Brady and Lebron because they win.Mike Trout does not win.

 

The All star games aren't what make Tom Brady or Lebron James marketable because no one cares about the Pro Bowl or NBA All Star game either. I don't think the All Star break is the marketing fix that will bring celebrity to MLB. 

 

Comparing a QB or NBA player to a baseball player doesn't really work because it is impossible for one baseball player to contribute as much to a team's success as in those sports.Like the Mike Trout case, the best player of all time cannot make the post season alone while Lebron James would take the Wolves or any other team to the playoffs every season. With Aaron Rogers, the Packers are a good team but without him they are flat out bad.One of my favorite things about baseball is that there is a unique balance of individual and team performance. Do your job and rely on the next guy to do his job.

 

(I also think if someone follows any major sport other than baseball they will still have an idea of who Mike Trout is and could probably name the team he plays for.)

    • chpettit19 likes this

 

No. I just can't get excited about any of this. MLB needs to attract people to the regular season and the competition there. Artificial competitions like this just seem to miss what we want to sell that the sport itself is a beautiful thing. What baseball always has going against it is that it takes more than one game to settle a championship. Football lines up and in three weekends or off to the super bowl and everybody had a chance to get into those playoffs and work their way through the system. While in baseball we keep trying to extend playoffs so we don't have a one game play in, we don't want to have five game series and so it goes off over the same number of weeks but every day and storylines get stale. Even the regular season has been hit with the same problem. Yes the length of game is an issue and needs to be changed I don't know how they'll do it but I would like to see it, however 154 games for whatever reason seem to work so well and 162 began the era of too many games. With so many of the games not counting for anything. To then take the All-Star break and make a series of games that do not really relate to what baseball is delivers the message that maybe baseball isn't that interesting or good. Thanks for the effort but I can't go with this

This is what it's all about. Supply and demand. Football is once a week so you have to dedicate that time each week to it if you care about it or you miss it. Baseball is every day. You can skip a few days, a week, a month, and jump right back in because there are still games everyday. I love baseball and watch multiple games everyday, but to expect the average person to tune in to a 3 hour game every day when they know they can just watch the next day just isn't realistic. And by the time the playoffs come around the average person is burned out on baseball.

 

I definitely have to agree that marketing is a huge swing and miss by baseball. They've been awful at it. They made some strides the last season or two with the "Let the kids play" stuff, but in general they're terrible. Access to highlights and social media content has been a complete disaster with them trying to control all of it. Trout isn't as well known as we'd like because he doesn't want the spotlight and isn't as charismatic as those other stars (and doesn't win). I like thinking outside the box on these things, but I don't see how these changes would bring in more fans to the sport. Robbing homeruns or making diving catches in a setup situation like this just doesn't show off the athleticism of baseball players the way dunk contests do. And I think getting rid of the game itself runs counter to the intended goal. Wouldn't you want to use the skills challenge stuff to get non-fans interested in baseball and then show them what the best baseball players in the world actually look like playing a real game of baseball? I would think that would be how you expand the fandom beyond regions and create more fans who are interested in watching teams from different locations because they fell in love with a guy during the all star game when they saw Joey Gallo hit a 500 foot homer off Jacob DeGrom after DeGrom had just made Bregman look stupid and the crowd went nuts from the drama of the Astros this year.

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milldaddy35
Feb 27 2020 01:11 PM

This is just silly. The MLB does not need to mess with the ASG or any of the events taking place. I do think adding some sort of skills challenge would be cool to showoff the defensive abilities of these players, but I'm not sure there is a great way to do it. 

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Nine of twelve
Feb 28 2020 10:11 PM

I do not like the current configuration of the ASG and the events surrounding it and I do not make a point of watching any of it. Here's the redesign this curmudgeon would institute.

 

1. Eliminate player selection by fans, players, managers, coaches, and media. The players would be selected based on statistical formulae which would take into account as many phases of the game as possible. These formulae would be different for each position.

2. Eliminate the requirement for each team to be represented.

3. There would be two players at each position for each team. The DH is used. Starters play 5 innings, reserves play 4 or 5 innings.

4. There would be ten pitchers for each team. Each pitcher pitches one inning.

5. The game ends after 10 innings if still tied. After all, it's just an exhibition.

 

I would watch the game if it were an actual all-star game, which what I think the above would accomplish. I realize this will never come to pass because the purpose of the game and the events surrounding it is to generate as much income as possible and my plan would probably decrease overall public interest. But a guy can dream.