How Baseball Works

A guide to Major League Baseball

brought to you by Ab Initio Games


The Basics
Hitting/Getting on Base
Scoring and Base- Running
Batting Lineup
Fielding and Positions
Rotation and the Bullpen
Pitches and Pitching
Regular Season
World Series and Playoffs
Umpires and Scorers
The Field of Play
All-Star Game
Common Terms
Useful Links
Index Page
Gameplan Baseball

The All-Star Game

Midway through each Major League Season, play stops for five days for the "All Star Break".

The All-Star game (often known as the "Midsummer Classic"), played between the best players (or actually, the most popular) from the American League and the National League, is considered as the highlight of the season, although until recently the game has been strictly an exhibition game, with no actual meaning to the result.

In 2003 this changed, when it was decided that the result would determine which league would have the benefit of home field advantage in the World Series. This is a cause for much debate, whether an essentially exhibition game should count for something, particularly when most of the players involved won't take part in the World Series.

The starting players are selected for the All-Star teams by a vote of other players, baseball writers and by the fans, either voting at games, or via the Internet, whilst the remainder of the team are selected by the two team managers (who are the two managers who represented the leagues in the previous World Series). The rosters are generally bigger than the normal 25 man rosters, typically 30 or more.

The system tends to mean that the most popular players tend to get voted in as starters every year, rather than perhaps more deserving, but less high profile players and also that players from the managers' teams tend to have more chance of being selected (he doesn't want to upset his star players!). The voting system is further skewed by the requirement that one player is voted into the team from each of the clubs within that league, so it doesn't matter how bad a player you might be, if all of your team-mates are even worse, you get to go to the All-Star game.

For many players, selection to the All-Star game is a career highlight (and often a major bargaining tool in contract negotiations).

The game itself is generally a "run fest". Pitchers generally won't pitch more than one inning (because they don't want to get fatigued) and won't always risk showing their best stuff. The game is usually preceded by the "home run derby" (which, perhaps not co-incidentally, became a really popular hit during the period when it's alleged steroid abuse was widespread) and also the "futures game" (an Allstar game for the best of players from the teams' farm systems) and even a "Legends/Celebrity Softball game".


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