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All-Star Game gets bigger (i.e. bloated)

4/28/2010

Every summer I read a list of things Baseball should do to "fix" the All-Star Game (which wasn't really broken, but forget about that for a minute). What should never be on that list is "Expand the rosters."

So of course that's exactly what they're doing. Again.

    All-Star rosters have steadily expanded. There were 28 players per team from 1969-97, and the size increased to 30 with expansion in 1998.

    After the infamous 7-7, 11-inning tie in Milwaukee in 2002, when teams ran out of pitchers, rosters expanded to 32 players, including 12 pitchers, the following year, when the game first started counting for World Series home-field advantage.

    The size increased to 33 players, including 13 pitchers, last summer and will now be 34 players, with 13 pitchers per team.

I hate to deploy the Slippery Slope Argument ... but where does this end?

In less than a decade, they've now added eight more All-Stars per season?

You really have to wonder if there's any real limit. Will there be 35 players on each roster next year? Will the players try to get 40 players per roster when negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement?

Because this is all about the players. See, they think the All-Star Game is for them. Meanwhile, Bud Selig thinks it's for the owners and I think it's for me.

Of course, the only thing we know for sure is that it's not for me. Or for you.

The owners wanted a rule excusing Sunday starters from All-Star duties, and they got it. But to get something you have to give something, and the players wanted more All-Star berths. The players love All-Star berths, because everybody wants to be an All-Star plus some players get more money if they're All-Stars.

Essentially, the rosters will keep expanding until the owners have everything else they want. Are we there now? I can't think of anything else the owners might want. They'll probably think of something, though. Owners are really good at thinking of new things to want.