Baseball notes: Bud Selig will keep current All-Star format

Combined wire services

Published: Tuesday, July 10 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

New York Mets' Dillon Gee delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, July 7, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday he is committed to keeping home-field advantage in the World Series attached to the winner of the All-Star Game, despite criticism from some that the reward is too great.

"I really like it," Selig said during his annual question-and-answer session with members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

"We were at a point (in the past) where guys were leaving after the third inning. You were having a really hard time getting people (to play). I had two people, Henry Aaron and Ron Santo, in separate conversations, who said to me, 'You've got to put something back in the game. You've got to create meaning.'

"Is it perfect? There's no perfect solution. So, you take a game that's clearly the best of all the All-Star Games, and you give it some meaning. You watch the dugouts over the last 10 years, they're all there when the game is over; they care. Players come. The only guys mad are the guys who don't come."

Home-field advantage in the World Series was attached to the winning league in the All-Star Game after the 7-7 tie in Milwaukee in 2002, when the managers of the respective teams ran out of pitchers because they focused too much on getting everybody into the game.

As for the game itself, Selig said he was very encouraged that major-league attendance was at the 40 million mark at the break despite the difficult economic times.

"I can't tell you how happy I am," said Selig. "It's remarkable. With virtually half the season to go, we're set to have a really remarkable season.

"There will always be problems, there will always be situations. I learned that a long time ago. But if somebody had suggested this to me 10 years ago ... given our business, our sport on the field, I'm extremely grateful for where we are."

HARPER ACTS HIS AGE: Bryce Harper finally acted his age at the All-Star game.

The 19-year-old Washington Nationals phenom lost a fly ball in the lights and got hung up between second and third Tuesday night during the NL's 8-0 victory over the American League. At the plate, he was 0-for-1 with a strikeout and a walk.

Still, his gaffe in left field and rundown on the bases didn't stop Harper from savoring the moment.

"It was a lot of fun. It was a great game," he said.

The only All-Stars younger than Harper were a pair of 19-year-old pitchers: Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1984 and Hall of Famer Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians in 1938.

That made Harper the youngest position player to be selected for an All-Star team, perhaps qualifying as much for his potential as for production. He was batting .282 at the break with eight homers and 25 RBIs.

Harper was among an All-Star-record five rookies this year, one more than in 2001 and 2003. The 2001 class is pretty distinguished — Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, Ben Sheets and Ichiro Suzuki. In 2003, the rookies who made it were Lance Carter, Mike MacDougal, Hideki Matsui and Dontrelle Willis.

Among other rookies, 20-year-old Mike Trout of the Angels had a hit, a walk and a stolen base. Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks allowed a hit in one-third of an inning and Ryan Cook of the Athletics worked a scoreless inning.

"I'm going to remember this the rest of my life," Trout said.

SO LONG, CHIPPER: Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who has announced his intention to retire after the season, got a standing ovation from the crowd at Kauffman Stadium.

Many of the fans had never seen him play in person before.

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