Call it the Derek Jeter rule: players voted to the All-Star team must participate in the game, unless they have a really good excuse.
Jeter was roundly, and I thought unfairly, criticized for his decision to skip this season’s All-Star game, including by an unnamed baseball official. Bud Selig did some major damage control at the time by claiming he was not angry that the captain of the New York Yankees decided to blow off the game. But I think Selig’s true feelings were revealed by the fact that baseball’s new labor contract mandates that players voted to the team must participate unless they are injured or otherwise excused. Get ready to see some interesting doctors’ notes and excuses.
I wonder how Jeter will feel about this change as he will be made the scapegoat for this rather restrictive rule, but we will probably never know. I thought Jeter was emotionally spent after his grueling climb to the 3,000 mark and had every right to take a few days off to mentally recharge for the second half of the year. Plus, Jeter may have been making a last-ditch effort to fix his fraying relationship with then-girlfriend Minka Kelly by spending the time with her on her turf (she was filming the now-cancelled Charlie’s Angels reboot in Miami). I can’t blame Jeter if he decided trying to salvage his long-term relationship was more important than playing in the All-Star game.
I don’t like the idea of forcing players to participate in the All-Star game. In a season of 162 games, half of which are played on the road, players should not be penalized for having a great season by being forced to participate in the game when they would rather spend their limited time off with their families. I don’t think players should have to justify that decision.
But in the grand scheme of things, being forced to play in the All-Star game is a small price to pay to keep the baseball peace.
Happy Thanksgiving folks!