Putting the `break’ in baseball’s All-Star break

So here we are at the All-Star Break.

We’ve all grown up taking the All-Star break as a given, just another part of the baseball landscape, a Tuesday game with off-days before and after that creates a before-and-after to the baseball season.

It turns out that it wasn’t a given.

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Colon may yet be ready to pitch an inning as an All-Star; if not, will closer Grant Balfour be his sub?


Once he’d been named to the American League All-Star team, it seemed clear that Bartolo Colon would not pitch in next Tuesday game in New York.

That’s because he’s scheduled to start for the A’s on Sunday, which under rules precludes him from pitching from more than one inning on Tuesday. Colon could theoretically choose to make himself available to pitch one inning, but he wasn’t expected to do that.

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Game 88 wrapup: All-Star snub of Oakland suggests contributing to winning isn’t a valued commodity

Maybe it’s that West Coast night games don’t get much play back East.

Maybe it’s that ESPN doesn’t show enough highlights of the Oakland A’s.

Maybe it’s that other teams have a couple of great players and the A’s only have a whole bunch of good players.

Whatever the reason, the American League All-Star team announced Saturday is a slap in the face. Not just to the A’s or to the East Bay. But it’s a slap in the face to putting winning teams on the field

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The All-Star Game

One question for you guys this afternoon. Did you stay up and watch the entire All-Star Game?

I caught about the final six innings, and I can’t imagine anything that happened in the first nine topped any of what I saw. Aaron Cook’s 10th-inning escape with the bases loaded and no outs (the Colorado pitcher should’ve been the MVP), the incredible defense by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, and the nerves experienced by AL manager Terry Francona (I could feel how nervous the Red Sox skipper was, could you?) were great theater.

I have to say, though,  that all this talk about how to avoid the tough decisions Francona and NL/Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle faced is bunk. If you’re going to play the All-Star Game to determine home-field advantage in the World Series — a ludicrous notion, by the way — then you play to win. If you’re a player at the All-Star Game, then you’re available to be used. Period, end of subject. If, say, Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir throws 100-some pitches on Sunday and the Rays don’t want him used in the All-Star Game, then DON’T SEND HIM.

I think a lot of this could be avoided if managers resorted to playing the All-Star Game the way they did back in the day. Starting pitchers should go 2 or 3 innings. The starters should play 4 or 5 innings. We should not see situations like we did Tuesday, where Giants closer Brian Wilson was removed after two batters — and two outs — to be replaced by someone else. Why is it so vital that everybody play? What is this Little League?

On the A’s front, I didn’t see Justin Duchscherer, but I take very little out of what a guy does in All-Star Game (unless his name is Jay Howell or Atlee Hammaker). It rarely portends to anything big picture. I’m glad Duke got a chance to pitch, because he didn’t get an opportunity in 2005. That sure affected him an adverse manner, didn’t it?