The manager has to attempt to balance not only the fans wants for the game, but also the manager of each team needs to focus on winning, because winning the all star game gives your league home field advantage in the world series (which considering the managers of the game were the managers from the world series last year... it matters to them). Along the same thought, managers often also try to play a majority of the players, for both the fans and the players alike, but this also leads to difficult positions for the manager, because the roster is not made up to mimic a normal roster, it is not uncommon to have 4 players that play the same position (usually 1B) on the roster. All of this makes balancing winning and keeping everyone happy a very difficult task. On top of all that, the manager only names a few players to the roster, and must ensure that every team is represented. Now many people have suggested that the idea of an all-star game having meaning is dumb (which it is), or the counter that now that the game matters, the fans should not matter, the manager of each league should pick the best guys, and in some instances better situational player rather than having 10 Starting Pitchers on each team (also true). But I am going to briefly talk about how we got here.
Way back in 2002, the MLB All-Star game reached an all time low when the game was called off after 10 innings (ending in a tie 7-7), because both teams had run out of players (Pitchers really), and neither manager wanted to risk throwing a position player, or a pitcher for too long, so the game was ended, and it was called a tie. This was truly embarrassing for baseball. Pitchers had come into that game in tennis shoes, to face one batter and leave, and everybody played and laughed and joked around and the game had very little competitiveness throughout. Bud Selig took a great deal of heat for this with fans chanting "Let the Play" and "Refund" when the game was initially called. Selig immediately took measures to insure that this travesty wouldn't happen again. This is why home field for the World Series is now on the line when they play. Rules were also instituted saying that starting pitchers who pitched on Sunday would be ineligible to pitch in the All-Star game, and therefore would have a replacement named in their place for the roster.
All of this was a result of the players losing the competitive nature, and pride, that came from playing in the Midsummer classic. Gone were the days of Pete Rose running over a Catcher on a play at the plate. Gone were the days where a player would start and end the All-Star game at the same position. In the "good ole days" players celebrated winning the all star game, because they beat those slobs in the other league. There was no Barry Bonds hugging Tori Hunter after a robbed home run, there was only winning. During the game, even if you knew a guy on the other team, you weren't friends, they were the enemy, and dang it you wanted to beat them. Heck, Bob Gibson wouldn't talk to anyone but other Cardinals players, because after the game ended... they were the enemy once again.
Now don't get me wrong, I am glad to see everybody play, and I am glad that every team gets recognition, but the fact that Selig had to institute a rule to add meaning to the All-Star game says a lot about the players. While it is an honor to be selected and represent the team (and cash the subsequent check most players get for being named to the team), it took making the game meaningful to make players care about the game again... and that is just sad
Thanks for Reading,
-T.O. signing out