Baseball Blurbs of the Week

89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard
Seeing the players having so much fun at the All-Star Game has made it more fun for fans. (Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The All-Star game has become an absolute blast

Last season baseball got rid of the rule that made the All-Star Game determine who would have home-field advantage in the World Series. The rule was originally put in place by former commissioner Bud Selig after a tie in the 2002 Midsummer Classic, and the rule garnered a lot of criticism during the time it was in place.

It never seemed right that something as important as home-field advantage in the World Series was being determined  by a game that’s supposed to be an exhibition and a break for the players in the middle of an incredibly long and exhausting season and players that could be making game-deciding plays could be playing for teams that weren’t even going to be in the playoffs.

The players always seemed to enjoy the game because the thought of World Series home-field advantage being on the line probably didn’t even cross their minds during the game, but over the last two years they seem even more relaxed and appear to be having so much fun in a game that should be exactly that.

You’ve began seeing a lot of selfies among star players, selfies with umpires and probably my personal favorite, interviews with the all-stars during the innings when they are in the field.

It just gives fans such a different insight into the personalities of some of the games best players, which can only be a good thing.

I’ve been a die-hard baseball fan for years and getting this kind of access to the games biggest stars in a game that brings them all together and provides some great match ups between hitters and pitchers should be as fun as it’s become.

Rob Manfred has deserved some criticism for some of the decisions he’s made, but he’s nailed it with this decision.

The new Home Run Derby format keeps knocking it out of the park (pun intended).

Think back to the days in the Home Run Derby where players had 10 outs until their round was over. It provided some great moments and great performances, but the huge problem was that it caused the derby to go on for way too long and didn’t create any sense of urgency.

In 2015 the format of the derby was changed to a bracket-style format and four-minute rounds that featured a bonus-round of 30 seconds if the player hits at least two home runs of a certain distance.

The format has made the derby incredibly entertaining and has made it so it lasts just over two hours and has a sense of urgency.

It has also usually lead to a very intense, fast-paced and entertaining final round, which wasn’t any different this year when Bryce Harper overcame a huge deficit in the last minute to beat Kyle Schwarber. Whether or not he followed the rule of allowing the ball to hit the ground is another story, but it’s a home run derby so let’s just root for entertaining and we got that this year whether you’re a Bryce Harper fan or not.

The trade deadline is coming early this year

We knew it was going to be an arms race in baseball this year when it came to the trade deadline with the separation between the haves and have-nots in baseball being a bigger gap than usual this season, especially in the AL. This has lead to teams trying to act as early as they can to try and jump on some of the best potential trade pieces that are available.

It really started a couple months ago when the Mariners traded for Denard Span and Alex Colomé, and then was continued when Kelvin Herrera was dealt to the Nationals.

This week though things really started to heat up with over a week until the trade deadline. Manny Machado was of course traded to the Dodgers and the Indians got much needed bullpen help when they traded for Brad Hand and Adam Cimber and then over the weekend the Mets dealt closer Jeurys Familia to the A’s.

There are certainly more pieces that will be moved before the July 31st deadline and things will be exciting, but with this being an extreme arms race between the contenders of trying to boost their rosters as much as they can, things shouldn’t be slowing down and expect some top prospects to be moved because the top available trade pieces will be coming at a premium.

This should be a fun run to the trade deadline and it’ll be really interesting to see how things shake out as teams try and bolster their rosters as much as possible to make a run at the World Series.

 

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