Allow me to solve baseball's pesky little Yasiel Puig All-Star dilemma.
I can do it in two words:
Rising … Star.
What this sport needs to make everyone happy is simple -- a Rising Star spot on both All-Star teams.
I've been firing this proposal out there for years, but I'd like to thank Puig for coming along at just the right moment to sum up every reason why this idea makes brilliant sense.
If I'm reading Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Scioscia, Marty Brennaman and the rest of the this-guy-ain't-an-All-Star-yet crowd correctly, their objection to including Puig on the All-Star team comes down to this:
The kid just hasn't paid his dues.
I have to admit I can't find a page in the rulebook that will tell us exactly which month, day, hour or minute Puig will arrive at a juncture where he will have paid his dues. But whatever. I get the point.
What these guys all clearly think is that, to use Papelbon's words, it would be an "injustice" if Puig made the All-Star team instead of some deserving veteran player -- a fellow whose dues are presumably all paid up, of course, not to mention a guy who almost certainly would have a big-time incentive clause riding on it.
Heck, it could cost a fellow like that -- what? -- a new Lexus or something.
Well, I disagree with all those men, much as I respect every one of them. But that's irrelevant, because I'm not here to argue. I'm here to help.
What if there were a way to include Puig in the All-Star fun without costing any veteran player his spot?
Oh, wait. There is.
With my handy-dandy Rising Star roster-spot proposal.
What I envision is a special bonus All-Star roster slot, reserved for a hot rookie, a young breakout star or a late-breaking meteor like Puig who shoots across the sky so brightly that millions of Americans say to themselves: "I'd sure love to see that dude in an All-Star Game."
Why the heck not?
You're no doubt saying that yourself, because I've never spun this idea past anyone in baseball who didn't react by saying something to the effect of:
What an awesome idea. Why aren't you in charge?
Heh heh heh heh. Well, shucks. I appreciate the kind words. But I don't need to be in charge. As I mentioned, I'm just here to help. And guess what? I can make this idea even more seductive to the folks at MLB. Ready for this?
We can let people vote on it.
How 'bout that? See, you know and I know there's nothing more beloved inside the commissioner's office than a concept people can log in and vote on -- oh, about several trillion times apiece, right? So again I ask:
Why the heck not?
Here, for instance, would be a sample National League Rising Star ballot that baseball could be rolling out as we speak:
I'm open to negotiation on any of those names. But get the concept? Marte and Teheran aren't technically rookies, but they're still busting out before our eyes. They're perfect fits for this ballot.
And Puig and Ozuna haven't been in the big leagues long enough to have (repeat along with me) paid … their … dues. But they sure are fun to watch.
So let's do this. Is there anyone out there who would argue the All-Star Game would be irreparably tarnished by adding a Rising Star spot on each team? Seriously?
Yeah, I know. The game "counts" now. But we're not talking about pulling some guy out of the stands and throwing him onto this roster. We're talking -- in the case of, say, Puig -- about adding someone who has been The Best Player in Baseball for the past month.
If there's some reason for scandal or outrage over including a player like that in the festivities, I must be denser than I thought -- because I'm just not seeing it.
So let's do this, OK? Let's do it by, ohhhhh, Monday morning at the latest, in fact.
It's just a simple little idea that would merely do what all simple little brainstorms are designed to do:
Make everybody happy.
That's all I've ever aspired to do in this world, ladies and gentlemen. So let's get this done, all right? And as always, I'll waive my usual fee.