The Major League Baseball All-Star game was played last week. I missed it. I was working at a camp and didn't have the time or the means to watch the game. No big deal, because the game is just an exhibition, and it means nothing. This hasn't always been the case.
As you can see from the clip above, there was a day when players took the game very seriously. However, over the years, the game became less and less competitive until it reached it's nadir in 2002 when the game was allowed to end in a tie because both teams had run out of players. This happened because the managers in the games leading up to 2002 sought to get as many players as possible into the game as possible, thus creating the disaster of running out of players.
After that unsatisfying ending the League and the players association agreed that the winner of the All-Star Game would determine which league would have home field advantage in the playoffs. Most people hated this idea, including the actual players. Personally, I liked it. However, this past year that clause was negotiated out of the MLB collecting bargaining agreement, and thus the game is back to being an exhibition that means nothing and carries no weight. Can this be fixed.....?
Here is my idea. What do players love almost as much as winning?
So let's make the All-Star game super lucrative. This will help motivate players, managers, and viewers.
Here is the plan:
1. Pay every player who gets elected to the All-Star team. Significantly. This will help with the problem of guys just not showing up for the game because they don't care. "But, these guys already get paid tons of money, they don't need the money!", you might say. So pay them a lot. Let's say $200,000 just for being chosen as an "All-Star". There are roughly 72 players selected to the All-Star team so that totals $14.4 million.
2. Attach a huge winners prize to the outcome of the game. Every player and the manager of the winning team wins $2 million. If you don't think competitive men won't go all out for an extra $2 million then I think you're crazy, and this will also motivate the manager to really try and win the game. That totals $74 million. Running total $88.4 million.
3. Kick in an extra 2 million for the winning pitcher. Just to make things interesting.
4. 5 million dollar bonus if someone hits a walk off home run to win the game.
5. An extra million dollars to any pitcher who strikes out the side in the All-Star game. Because that has been exciting and noteworthy in the past.
So, how do you pay for this roughly $100 million dollar venture?
A. The ratings would go way up if you advertised this insanity, creating a much higher ad rate for the game.
B. You have to sell the rights to the All-Star Game to some corporate entity, and then let them plaster their name all over the place. (Just not on the players uniforms, that is sacred).
C. Auction the game off to the highest bidder separately from the current MLB TV rights contract.
D. The special incentives for the game will help to create a much more active prop bet market in Vegas, and that will hopefully increase interest (much like the Super Bowl), and thus increase profits.
Those are just a few thoughts I had while driving cross country this week. I'm open to criticisms and other suggestions.