Sunday, January 30, 2011
MLB Should Copy the NHL
I have no idea how many people out there are Hockey fans, I myself follow hockey at a minimal level, but I was intrigued when I read this. This year, the NHL tried something a little different and used a fantasy-type system in selecting the rosters for the annual All-Star game. I haven't heard of another major sport attempting this and it definitely got me thinking.
The NHL, along with the NFL and NBA seem to get it. Their all-star games are, at their base, talent showcases. The outcome of the game is essentially meaningless and both sides are more interested in obtaining bragging rights than anything else. After a few debacles, the MLB decided a few years back to make their All-Star game count for something, namely home-field advantage in the World Series. This isn't new news, obviously, and the merits of this system have been debated from both sides. Those in favor of it say that it adds some intrigue to the game and suggest that the players play harder because the outcome of that game may determine if their team or league gets an advantage in the World Series. Those against it argue that a mid-season, one-game event shouldn't hold that much importance, particularly when every team is allowed a representative, including teams who are essentially out of the playoff picture come mid-July. I tend to be torn, I like that the game has some extra intrigue, but I also see the other side; I find it ridiculous that a one-game "series" determines has such weighty outcome. In other words, I'd be in favor of a change to something else, namely something that keeps the intrigue but reduces the influence of that one game on other parts of the baseball season.
Enter...All-Star Fantasy Draft. Selection systems would remain the same, the fan voting and coaches/players selections, I wouldn't change any of that. The two captains would consist of the highest vote getter the AL against the highest vote getter in the NL...and an all-out fantasy draft would ensue. Do away with the game determining anything, let end-of-season record determine home-field advantage for the World Series.
Seriously, how cool would that be? They could hold the draft right before the Homerun Derby (or after, doesn't matter) which would give the respective managers a day to set their lineups and determine their starting pitchers. Imagine, Pujols and Mauer on the field at the same time,...or a Jeter/Utley SS/2B duo, it would lead to combinations of players that we would never otherwise have a chance to see. That alone would add the intrigue for true baseball fans.
I'm sure there are some logistics that would need to be worked out, but I think the NHL might be on to something here. It's a really interesting idea and it's application to MLB is obvious and exciting. So, Mr. Selig, what do you think, I think it would be a lot of fun!