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Jason Mackey: Dear MLB, please separate your marquee events

Jason Mackey: Dear MLB, please separate your marquee events

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6. All Star Game Baseball

First base is shown with the All Star logo during the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER — Covering baseball has taught me plenty of lessons. Like always bring extra work or a book to read. It may rain.

And the fact that, no matter how much you prepare or try to plan ahead, there are some days where nine billion things happen, and there's really not much you can do about it.

Nuisance days, I'd call them. Except I'd never seriously consider getting paid to cover a sport I've loved since I was a kid a nuisance.

Major League Baseball's decision to hold its All-Star Game and first-year player draft simultaneously, as it did for the first time this past week, got me thinking about nuisance days. This was basically inviting three of them, and I don't understand why that makes sense.

It wasn't fair to the players on either side of the career spectrum. It wasn't fair to those running teams. It also wasn't the smartest thing the sport could have done for its fans.

I see what MLB was going for here, to drum up more interest in the draft by attaching it to what Commissioner Rob Manfred calls a "jewel" event. But I don't think having one on top of the other accomplished that.

One of the things the NFL does so well is giving a continual drip of information, the league announcing or releasing something pretty much every month of the year. The regular season is the easy part. Think about how smoothly an NFL schedule rolls from the conclusion of the Super Bowl into free agency, owners' meetings, the draft, schedule announcements, rookie camp, OTAs, minicamp, training camp and the regular season.

Like it or hate it, the sport never really goes away. I wish baseball would adopt more of that mindset, although I understand why it's not always possible.

Those evaluating players and running teams have long wanted the draft to occur after the College World Series — an understandable desire. It also can't happen too late because there's mutual interest in starting professional development.

Aram Leighton joins Ben and Ariel to discuss which MLB Teams won the draft.

Take No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis, for example. He hasn't played a game since May and is champing at the bit to get back on the field. With another nine weeks in Low-A Bradenton's season, it's absolutely possible that Davis could sign, start out in the Florida Complex League (formerly the Gulf Coast League) and play affiliated ball in 2021.

That's probably not possible if the MLB draft is held later.

"I mean, I totally get it. Nobody can have it perfectly," Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. "Pushing the draft to be later to try and get around the college season has been a thing for a while, and sure enough, all right, it's later. Now, it feels like it's more.

"I guess we just have to experience it and see. Maybe it's getting used to a new thing, it won't be a big deal, and we'll all like it after the fact. We'll just come back in August and see what it feels like."

This period of time had to be hard on Cherington and his staff. Obviously they're not terribly worried about All-Star stuff, but they do have the trade deadline fast approaching.

In his pre-draft comments, Cherington said there had been a fair amount of trade talk around the league, although he thought that would probably go on hiatus during the draft.

It's hard to imagine how it could have continued, honestly.

When including compensatory-round picks, the Pirates (21) essentially made three times as many selections as your typical NFL draft (7), and they had to do that while evaluating a much larger pool of players.

"No matter what, we have to figure out how to do our jobs," Cherington added. "And we will."

Now on the other side, Cherington and the Pirates did a tremendous job in the draft; however, I wish Henry Davis, Anthony Solometo, Lonnie White Jr., Bubba Chandler and others had the floor completely to themselves.

Discussing who did well in the draft and who did not should have been all over MLB Network, a way for teams like the Pirates — who don't command as much attention now — to get some of the national spotlight.

Instead, the league-wide focus Monday quickly shifted to Shohei Ohtani, Pete Alonso, Trey Mancini and the Home Run Derby.

Again, I get it. We're talking about three events with the draft, All-Star festivities and trade deadline that need to fit into a fairly tight window.

But when baseball has a chance to really grab attention, I wish the league would maybe sip its beer instead of shot-gunning it. At least spread 'em out over a few weeks.


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