Selig sticking with one-for-all selection format

Bud Selig says the model of one representative per team will continue for future All-Star games.

Originally Published: July 15, 2003
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

CHICAGO -- We know Lance Carter, Dmitri Young and Mike Williams are in favor of all 30 teams having an All-Star. But they're not the reason the beloved everybody-has-an-All-Star rule probably isn't going away any time soon.

Rondell White

No, the big reason this one figures to stick around is that Bud Selig thinks the alternative is worse.

"I guess I'm the culprit," the commissioner said Tuesday in a get-together with the Baseball Writers Association of America. "I do believe every team should be represented. Look, we're up to 32 players (on each All-Star team) now. If we were still at 25, you could make a convincing case. But we have 30 teams, and they need to have a representative.

"I'm the commissioner. And the message you send (if you take away a team's All-Star) causes a lot of distress to that team. And when you sit in my chair, you'd better be very careful. So I'm very reluctant to start eliminating teams."

In fact, Selig said he doesn't "foresee any dramatic changes" in the All-Star selection or election process in just about any area, despite the many questions raised by this year's new wrinkles in that process.

But that doesn't mean there won't be changes. Sources indicate that in a couple of weeks, baseball officials plan to meet with representatives of the players' union to look again at this whole process. And that includes the every-team rule.

One thing that's almost certain to change is the framework of the players' voting system to elect the backups at each position. This year, players voted for only one All-Star at every position. So the result was that every time a player voted for the same player elected to start by the fans, those votes essentially didn't count, because only the players' second choice got to make the team.

So in the future, players are expected to be asked for two, and possibly three, players at every position and to rank them in order. That way, every player who votes would have a say in every reserve elected -- a major improvement from the current system.

A number of other items also are expected to be discussed -- including expanding rosters again, ways to ensure that retiring stars such as Roger Clemens are included in the All-Star Game and alternative ways to fill out the roster once the fan and player voting has selected the majority of it.

In other matters addressed by the commissioner Tuesday:

Selig
Selig

  • Selig defended the move to let the All-Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series by saying baseball was simply "trying to be a good broadcast partner" with Fox, after years of being accused of being a lousy partner.

  • The commish also continued to insist that awarding home-field advantage in the Series to the team with the best regular-season record isn't practical, because "we need 10,000-12,000 hotel rooms for the World Series, and we just can't do it in 24 hours."

  • Selig expressed confidence that the new All-Star format would be a hit and asked for time "to see how this change works out ... just like interleague play and the wild card." Selig said this was a necessary step because "for ratings of this (All-Star) game and other games to continue to drop is a disaster for the game. So we're trying to do something about that, rather than wait till it's too late."

  • The commissioner said he's not ready to call off the QuesTec experiment in strike-zone definition, despite the relentless criticism it's received. But he did admit that "a fair number of managers have called me and are very outspoken about it."

  • Selig continued to tap dance on when and how the Expos' fate for next season will be decided. He said there is now "no timetable" on that decision, which originally had a tentative by-the-All-Star-break timetable. While he didn't address speculation that the Expos could play most of their games in San Juan next year, it was notable that he did rave about the Puerto Rico experiment. And when pressed on how unfair it was that postponing a decision on the Expos another year could cost them Vladimir Guerrero, his response was that "every team has a budget" -- meaning, in other words that other teams have lost stars to free agency for financial reasons and gone on. So if that happens with the Expos and Guerrero, it would be no different than, say, the Mariners and A-Rod.

  • Amid reports that Selig has decided not to reinstate Pete Rose this year, the commish said simply that the situation was "really no different than the last time it came up. At some point -- I can't tell you when -- we'll come to a decision."

  • Finally, Selig was predictably unhappy about a USA Today headline Tuesday that said, "Fans Say Game Is in Crisis." He said attendance is down now by only 2½ percent despite a slumping economy and horrendous weather. He praised the new labor agreement for being a breakthrough "that has dealt with our problems." And he said TV ratings are good. "So you're going to have to show me which criteria shows it's a game in crisis," he said. "There's no economic data that supports it. And there's no sociological data that supports it."

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

    Jayson Stark | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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