Lets Redesign MLB All-Star Week
Image courtesy of © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsLast 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.
- 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.
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.
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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