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All-Star Game’s shine dulled by lousy rules

So the St. Louis Cardinals spent April, May, June and July crafting the best record in Major League Baseball.

But, thanks to the results of an exhibition game, they’re doomed to playing the role of visitors should they be so fortunate to make it to the World Series again this fall.

Makes sense to me. Not.

If the All-Star Game is going to “count” then let’s cut the hokey rules like the one that says every team must be represented. If the game is supposed to pit the best player from each league, let’s not leave home a superstar from a team that is already represented so that the San Diego Padres don’t get their feelings hurt.

Let’s also eliminate the free-for-all balloting rules that would have allowed fans of the Kansas City Royals fans to commandeer seven of the eight starting positions on the American League squad had MLB not intervened.

It was a good showing for the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night with both Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta collecting base hits in the effort to secure the World Series home field advantage for the Senior Circuit. But perhaps the National League pitching staff could have benefited from some assistance from some help from the three Redbirds hurlers, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, who collected dust on the bench all game.

The embarrassment of the night was Cincinnati fans who heartily booed St. Louis players every time they were introduced. That’s quite a show of sportsmanship on the national stage, especially when most baseball fans in Seattle, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco don’t understand the context of their beef.

(It’s probably better for the Reds people don’t know a foul-mouthed and disrespectful player on their team started a brawl a few years ago that resulted in their star pitcher kicking a St. Louis reserve in the face with metal spikes while he was on the ground, ending his career. But why that makes them boo St. Louis players five years later is beyond me.)

Molina, at the center of the Reds fans’ discontent, seemed to enjoy the moment. He smiled and gestured to the name on the back of his uniform as Cincinnati fans howled when he was introduced. Later, when they booed prior to his only at-bat of the game, Molina laced a single.

I used to enjoy the All-Star Game quite a bit. It was the stuff kids who collect baseball cards fantasize about: A dream team of all the best players assembled on one field for a chance to prove who is the best of the best.

But the hokey rules and the weighty impact of a win or loss determined in large part by players who have no chance to make the World Series saps a lot of the fun out of it.

So let’s get back to some real baseball, please.

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