If you are not already familiar with our whimsical "five-ASG-in-one" concept, feel free to read our Hardball Times article from 2008 to get disoriented.
Remember, these are three-inning games. Trust us when we say that, at the present rate of growth in attention-deficit issues here in America, the game will be played this way by 2076.
This year the AL East and the NL Central get the byes in the first round. The AL West will send the AL Central home, thanks to the heroics of their Mariners contingent. The NL West will do the same to the NL East, thanks to the Giants contingent. (They may be having their troubles this season, but that core group is still filled with pride...)
The AL East will surprise everyone (except us, since we're making this up as we go along...) by starting Miguel Gonzalez, (snubbed in real life despite pitching better than teammate Chris Tillman) who will throw two perfect innings, followed by his fellow Oriole Darren O'Day, and they'll send the AL West home. The NL Central will use five straight hits from a gaggle of Cardinals and Pirates to score five runs off Patrick Corbin (proving that saving Clayton Kershaw for the last round is not always the best strategy).
In the showdown round, the NL Central and the AL East will go in extra innings. That's right, they'll play five innings...! We'll let you decide who won.
The chart of our divisional All-Stars is above. The actual All-Star position player starters are in black bold type (as are the selected pitchers). The actual All-Star position player reserves are shown in red bold type. If you eyeball it, you'll see that the AL East and the NL Central have a few more players on the actual team than the other two divisions, Note also the presence of lots of Dodgers and Padres in the subs, which will make for a lot of fun after the Zack Greinke incident--and look who made the team as a backup OF! (What can we say--the guy has been hitting the ball really well ever since he made baseball into a contact sport...)
What we like about our approach is that a lot more players get to play, and some of those chosen are often criminally overlooked, particularly relief pitchers. (Some of these guys you may have never heard of...and some you may never hear of again. And, if abounding rumors rebound into reality, some of these guys might just get suspended...) Since baseball is tilting toward the endless parade of relievers, we might as well do the same in the ASG. With the three-inning format and the chance of playing in three contests, managers have to use their starters more like starters (meaning, in this instance, having them actually throw two innings).
When time permits, we'll go back and look at the divisional All-Star concept all the way to the beginning of the three-division format. But we'll just go ahead right now and cop to the not-so-subtle agenda item involved in all this: namely, getting more back-up catchers on the All-Star team than can possibly make sense, because you need three of 'em just in case somebody gets racked up at home plate, or takes a foul ball off a finger, or says the magic word to a trigger-happy All Star umpire.