The $1 million solution to All-Star Game woes
Baseball is having a difficult time squeezing into the public consciousness these days.
The NBA and World Cup hijacked the summer calendar until NFL training camps take over next week.
About all there is to say about baseball is that the All-Star Game -- the latest edition scheduled for tonight in Minneapolis -- is broken.
Oh, and then there are all the suggestions of how to put the event back together again.
The remedy is so uncomplicated that I'm almost embarrassed to have to be the one to raise it.
Since I'm an expert at being embarrassed, here goes: The commissioner of baseball should command each manager to do whatever it takes to win the game.
Of course, the Red Sox' John Farrell and Cardinals' Mike Matheny likely would snicker at Bud Selig and then fall asleep in the dugout by the third inning like the rest of America does.
There's a remedy for that, too: Offer $1 million -- winner take all -- to the manager that manages to manage a victory.
In the All-Star Game's prime, everybody from league presidents to the managers to the players to fans to broadcasters to journalists cared who won.
Then over the decades everything possible was done to merge the leagues into one and make the so-called Midsummer Classic more an intramural exercise than an intraleague competition.
No longer are there league presidents. The umpires move back and forth between the leagues. So do players.
The American League and National League are one big bowl of soup now. Interleague play eliminated the novelty of Clayton Kershaw pitching to Jose Abreu.
Selig was desperate to take what had become an exhibition and somehow sell it to TV as an actual game.
So now the league that wins what essentially still is an exhibition receives home-field advantage in the World Series.
Clearly desperation is the mother of dumbness.
Something smarter is called for and bribing the managers is the answer.
When this game was really a game, the starting pitchers pitched as many as 3 innings. Let Adam Wainwright and Felix Hernandez pitch 3 innings tonight.
Then line up the rest of the pitchers however makes sense during the final six innings and extras if necessary.
Also when the game was really a game, the stars of stars like Willie Mays would play all night if the game took that long.
Mays wanted to win anytime he took the field. So did Pete Rose and Ted Williams and Stan Musial and Whitey Ford and all that gang.
Farrell should stick with the likes of Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera all game, as should Matheny with the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Andrew McCutchen.
Pull Derek Jeter in the late innings for a defensive replacement. Pull Yasiel Puig at any time if he dogs it.
Generally play to win and specifically manage to win.
Not every player on each team has to get into the game. Some might be greats back home but in Minnesota tonight they're basically reserves.
That means Farrell and Matheny can use them to help secure victory or not use them when others fit better in particular game situations.
If feelings are bruised, so be it. Players already qualifed for their all-star bonuses and that should be all that they're guaranteed.
On the mound or in the batter's box, when players do get on the field they'll always try to succeed anyway so they aren't embarrassed on a big stage.
The managers are the ones that need an incentive to try to make all the right moves and $1 million is a pretty good one.
There you have it ... problem solved ... you can thank me now or you can thank me later.