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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?