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Terry Francona nails the central problem with the All-Star Game

Boston Red Sox v Oakland Athletics

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 19: Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 19, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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The beauty of job security: you can tell the truth from time to time. Here’s Terry Francona, pretty much hitting the nail on the head:

“Maybe the significance of this game has run its course ... I know what they were trying to do with the game, and I think they accomplished it, but maybe it’s run its course. There’s maybe better ways to figure out home field ... I just think the way they’re playing the game, with the fan voting, they want interviews in the dugout, they want a lot of things to make it not like a regular season game, and then at the end you end up treating it like the most important regular-season game of the year ... It’s just not real consistent, and there is a lot riding on it.”


The incentives are the issue here. What will make players actually show up and play hard, what will make managers manage like it’s a real game and what will make fans actually want to watch? You likely can’t make it perfect -- it will never match game 162 between two teams tied for the final playoff spot -- but there has to be a way to change the incentives, because the current ones don’t work.

Cable and the Internet have killed the original incentive -- showing us players we rarely get to see -- because we see everyone all the time now. Home field advantage in the World Series hasn’t caused anyone to treat the game differently. The All-Star Game is operating on eighty years worth of inertia at the moment, and eventually, inertia runs out.

I know the game isn’t going anywhere. And I know that, as long as Bud is in charge, we’re not going to see too many changes, because he loves the home field advantage thing. But that doesn’t mean we can’t think about it some.