The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 17, 2013

Tweak the mid-summer classic before you lose me

The Major League Baseball All-Star extravaganza has come and gone and, quite frankly, I'm rapidly losing interest in the annual event.

Undoubtedly age has a lot to do with the significantly fewer chills that travel up and down my spine, but it's more than that. When the concept was first developed, it was a true All-Star game. Over the years it has gradually moved away from that.

So here are three things I think can be done to liven up the All-Star break. One is to adjust the fan voting.

I get it. MLB wants the fans to take some ownership in the game so it has allowed them to stuff ballot boxes to get their favorite players into the contest.

I'm fine with that but why do the top vote-getters at each position have to start? Isn't it enough that they make the roster? Don't handcuff the All-Star managers by telling them who they have to put on the field to start the game. Let them use their baseball knowledge to come up with their own lineup.

Another move would be to shorten up the rosters. They're way too large and it becomes almost comical to see the respective coaching staffs trying to get everybody into the game before the nine innings are up. Shorter rosters would take a lot of that pressure off the managers and they could treat it more like a real baseball game.

I realize that may mean the at-least-one-player-from-each-team mandate may have to be done away with but that's OK. How about this: The only players who HAVE to make the all-star teams are the top vote-getters and at least one from the hometown team where the game is being played.

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