According to mlb.com, Major League Baseball will be expanding the rosters for this year’s All-Star Game from 32 to 33 players. The extra player added will be a pitcher, allowing for each league to have 13 pitchers at its disposal. This move was deemed necessary because last year’s Midsummer Classic lasted 15 innings, prompting both managers to use all of their available pitchers. The last time rosters were expanded was in 2003. That move was made for similar reasons, as the previous year’s All-Star Game ended in a 7-7 tie because the National League had used up all of their pitchers.
If you recall, during last year’s All-Star Game, Mets third baseman David Wright had been asked by National League manager Clint Hurdle to pitch if the game were to continue past the 15th inning. Brad Lidge had entered the game for the senior circuit as the last pitcher available. Commissioner Bud Selig had already said that the game would be played until its completion no matter what. Wright appeared to be all for the idea.
“I told him I was ready. I was just hoping to get one out, so I’d have an ERA in the All-Star Game.”
Unfortunately for the National League, Wright never got to show off his pitching skills that night, as Brad Lidge loaded up the bases before yielding a game-winning sacrifice fly to Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, barely scoring Rangers shortstop Michael Young. Had Lidge gotten out of the jam, Wright might not have fared much better. After the game, Wright was asked about the last time he had pitched in a game, to which he responded that it was probably during his Little League days. When asked if he was any good on the mound, Wright provided the quote of the day:
“I’m not a pitcher now, am I?”
Kudos go out to Bud Selig for adding an extra pitcher to the All-Star roster. Considering the game counts for home field advantage in the World Series (don’t even get me started on that), the game should be played to its conclusion without having to stretch relief pitchers past their usual one or two innings of work. Teams should not be penalized by having one of their best pitchers throw too many pitches in an exhibition game. The game should also not have to resort to gimmicks like bringing in a position player to pitch in a game that would determine which league gets the coveted potential Game 7 of the World Series. Not every All-Star game is going to last 15 innings, but at least Selig is thinking ahead so that when it eventually happens again, the managers will be prepared to handle the pitching situation properly.
Now if they could only get rid of that rule where every team has to be represented by at least one player…