Selig OK With Derek Jeter's Decision To Skip All-Star Game Festivities
Yankees SS Derek Jeter's absence from this week's All-Star festivities, despite his being voted in as a starter, has been a major topic of discussion, but MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday said he understood Jeter's desire to rest and is not troubled by the decision. "There isn't a player that I'm more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter," Selig said. "He's played the game the way it should be played. He's an even greater human being off the field. I think I would have made the same decision that Derek Jeter had" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). He added, "I know Derek has been under a lot of pressure. I just can never quarrel with him because he's been so good. ... He comes to the office. He does stuff for Major League Baseball. He knows his own physical condition, so I just can't argue with him" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/13). In N.Y., Mark Feinsand notes Jeter was "one of only five players who didn't show up for the festivities in the desert, four of those players coming from the Yankees." 3B Alex Rodriguez was "recovering from Monday's knee surgery," while Ps Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia "opted not to fly across the country." Rivera "battled soreness in his right triceps last week, while Sabathia was ineligible to pitch after starting Sunday's game." The only non-Yankee not at last night's All-Star Game was Braves 3B Chipper Jones, "who was also recovering from knee surgery." Selig was "satisfied with the reasons given by all of the no-shows, saying he would have made an issue of it had he thought there was 'a real indiscretion' with their decisions." Selig: "Seventy-nine out of 84 are here, including all the injured players that wanted to be here. That doesn't indicate to me that people don't want to play and don't want to be here" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/13).
DISAPPOINTED WITH NO-SHOW: Fox’ Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during last night's All-Star Game discussed the players who did not attend the event, and McCarver said, “With Derek Jeter, with that celebration at Yankee Stadium, the home run for his 3,000 hit on Saturday, I was hopeful -- and I think a lot of baseball fans feel that way -- hopeful that Jeter had shown up here so the celebration could be a national celebration instead of just a local, New York celebration” (“MLB All-Star Game,” Fox, 7/12). Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard said it was “wrong” for Jeter not to attend the game, but added, “I agree it’s also his right, because if you don’t want it to be optional don’t make it optional.” However, Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said, "He should be forced to be there” (“PTI,” ESPN, 7/12). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "Baseball has to take a stand and make this game important or it’s becoming completely irrelevant" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/12). But ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said, "In some cases there’s no way around this. Baseball just has to understand that some guys are going to get hurt, some guys are going to value their health for the second half more importantly than they’re going to value the All-Star Game" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 7/12).
POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS: In K.C., Martin Manley wrote "unless something is done," the issue of player defections from the All-Star Game "will likely get worse and worse." MLB could "move the game back a day to Wednesday," or it could tell "all players that are selected or invited that they are expected to attend the game even if they don't attend any of the other events" (KANSASCITY.com, 7/12). In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes under the header, "Without Best Pitchers, This All-Star Game Strikes Out." MLB "should ditch the 'Sunday Rule' that prohibits starting pitchers from participating in the All-Star Game if they started two days earlier." Sharp writes he understands the intent behind it, but MLB instead should "limit those guys to one batter." MLB "has blown a great promotional opportunity," as they "overtweaked the parameters of the All-Star Game to the point of rendering it virtually useless" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/13).