As Major League Baseball nears its trading deadline, there are many players who have been mentioned about as potential candidates to be moved. Perhaps the most talked about of these is the starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price.
At one point not too long ago, many of the experts were almost sure that Price was on the cusp of being moved. Since then, many things have changed. Now it may no longer a possibility that Price is going to be traded before the end of tomorrow. Instead, it looks increasingly more like he is going to stay with the Rays, at least for the remainder of 2014.
Since being the first overall pick of the 2007 MLB Draft, the 28 year old Price has lived up to his billing. It didn’t take long for him to become the ace of the Rays’ pitching staff. In 2010, just his second full season, he started the All-Star Game for the American League, and went on to finish second in Cy Young voting. That year, he pitched to a 2.72 ERA, while striking out 188 batters.
The new home run derby format could in fact be a brilliant innovation to a stagnant event. Last night’s event was a good test run for how this event may go in the future. In fact, performances from several of the participants displayed a helpful case study for how to tinker with the model so it best meets its potential.
But speaking from only experiencing one such newly-formatted derby, my commentary must be less evidence-based and more in the realm of logical/hypothetical.
The new format’s biggest changes spring from the change to a bracket setup. (ESPN)
The bracket is definitely a major shift from the derby of years past, and it’s almost surely here to stay. That’s mostly a good thing, though there’s definitely room for improvement.
Being named an All-Star is, and should be, a great honor to any player. It’s a recognition that the player is one of the best at his position, and most of those who are selected get a chance to play to some degree. The baseball world appropriately stops to recognize those who make the game exciting that year.
But Major League Baseball has long had trouble figuring out how to make the All-Star Game relevant. The MLB isn’t the only league to face this difficulty. The NFL Pro Bowl is joked about every year. The fantasy format with “Team Rice” and “Team Sanders” was created this season in an effort to shake up the game and bring in more viewers.
The MLB originally took a very different tack — because many fans always felt a number of players not selected should have been included, a “Final Vote” was added for the last man on the roster. (The Final Vote was only needed because of another misguided, though well-meaning, policy the league has in place, which I’ll discuss below.)
After the 2002 All-Star Game, which ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings, Bud Selig felt he needed to take action to prevent it from happening again. He made one change, the consequences of which continue today: stating that “this game matters,” Selig pronounced it would be the determinant of which league hosted the World Series.