Baseball still hasn't sent out the memo alerting us that it's all a joke. The all-star game really is going to decide the starting field for next year's Kentucky Derby.

That's about as logical as the game deciding home-field advantage in this year's World Series, a plan Bud Selig apparently is going through with despite the guffawing of approximately 97.6 percent of baseball observers.

Rewind to the famous final scene of last year's all-star game, when the baseball commissioner threw up his hands and called the game a tie. You almost could read his lips.

"God, I hope all those Fox executives in the press box are really drunk by now."

Selig vowed to never again let the all-star game be just a night of midsummer fun.

Fun is defined as the number of people who watch it on television, and the ratings were down 16 percent last year.


But short of absconding the New York Yankees payroll and distributing it equally to every man, woman and child in America, nothing is going to work. The inescapable fact is a lot of people just don't care enough to watch anymore.

Throw away the competitive pretense, and make Tuesday a complete ratings grab. After all, we are talking Fox.

Since it's in Chicago, let Geraldo reprise his Al Capone's vault stunt and pry through Barry Bonds' locker looking for steroids.

Since the White Sox are hosting, reprise Disco Demolition Night. Only really pander to the Fox audience and blow up a stack of Dixie Chicks CDs.

How about a pregame Survivor--featuring Mo Vaughn, Juan Gonzalez, Armando Benitez and the two guys who fought over Bonds' 73rd home run ball--all stranded under house arrest in Jose Canseco's garage.

Four words: George Steinbrenner Dunking Booth.

It could be a ratings spectacular and pave the way for Selig's next big announcement: This year's World Series will determine who wins next year's all-star game.

David Whitley


Orlando Sentinel

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