Happy anniversary to Miller Park and the 2002 All-Star Game – the impetus behind “now it counts,” the All-Star Game incentive to compete for real in order to secure World Series home field advantage for the winning league.
July 9, 2002: the NL and AL each exhausted their pitching and found themselves unable to proceed beyond a 7-7 tie in the 11th. After an impromptu conference with managers Bob Brenly and Joe Torre, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig determined to let things be what they were and call the game.
The iconic image of Selig throwing up his hands has been entered into evidence by anti-Bud types as an indication of frightening ineptitude:
I have always had Allan’s back on this one.
What was the dude supposed to do? The managers had burned through their rosters in (what was then) a fake competition. What didn’t matter was who emerged victorious. What did matter was the safety of the players. The options were to risk injury to a non-pitcher by putting him on the hill, risk injury to a pitcher who had cooled off from a previous appearance, risk injury to a pitcher by extending him too long, or grab some guy from the stands to hurl. I suppose they could have tried to round up some BP pitchers to throw from behind a cage or set-up a pitching machine or have a home-run derby or something like that. But again, these guys were already extended 11 innings and the game meant nothing. It’s the Gladiator theory: “Are you not entertained?” Done and done.
Whether Allan H. Bud Selig is an effective leader of MLB is argument that should exist without the All-Star Game inclusion. Personally, I think the guy is a good commish…and I LOVE that the All-Star Game has something riding on it.