KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 10: American League All-Star Billy Butler #16 of the Kansas City Royals waves to the crowd before his at bat in the seventh inning during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

2012 MLB All-Star Game: National League Wins Third Straight With 8-0 Victory

Billy Butler went 0-for-2 and the American League was shut out 8-0 in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.

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Bud Selig Announces New First Round Playoff Format For 2013 Season

This year, the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs is going to feature a truncated five-game series that goes from two games in one venue to the final three in another. For the team who is up first, it’s nice to have the first two games at home, but it’s a major disadvantage overall to have to clinch on the road. That’s why Bud Selig says MLB will change those rules starting next season.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that the format will switch next season to a 2-2-1 format giving the lead team the chance to clinch at home that’s typical of every sport and every other format in baseball as well. In fact, O’Brien notes that baseball scheduled things this way to avoid further travel time for that first round since the season already runs well into autumn as it stands.

While it’s nice that baseball didn’t want to elongate things any more than necessary, the team that is forced to win out on the road this year will be frustrated and there’s likely to be a lot of grumbling having to play through it. The consolation is that it’s only for one year.

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2012 MLB All-Star Game: Chipper Jones Makes 1st Appearance At Kauffman Stadium

Jones will play his first game in the beautifully renovated Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night as a NL reserve -- the only park he hasn't played in.

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2012 MLB Futures Game: Wil Myers Called Best Hitter By Keith Law

The MLB Futures game is loaded with the All-Stars of tomorrow, so to be honored among such storied company is something to truly celebrate. That’s why Kansas City Royals fans should rejoice when ESPN’s Keith Law calls Wil Myers the best hitter of all of the players in this year’s MLB Futures Game.

The Royals recognize they have a special talent already in house and he’s responded their trust with 27 home runs between AA and AAA so far this season. He’s the long-term heir apparent to Jeff Francoeur in right field. For now, he’ll have to impress at the Futures game.

Law writes, “Myers, who is hitting .327 across two levels this year, can flat-out hit, and if we weren’t all so busy asking how Mike Trout went only 25th in the 2009 draft, we might be asking how Myers ended up in the third round. (Money was one of the reasons, of course.) Now that last year’s knee injury is well behind him, his lower half is working more like it used to, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields. He has a simple, natural swing, with great ability to manipulate the bat, and has shown he can hit all kinds of pitching.”

Read more about the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium at SB Nation Kansas City. Head over to Baseball Nation for news and analysis around Major League Baseball. Also, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for video commentary.

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2012 MLB Futures Game: Yordano Ventura Pitches For World Roster

The Kansas City Royals have the starting pitcher on the U.S. Roster, but some might be surprised that they also boast the starting pitcher on the World roster as well. As thin as the Major League rotation looks for the Kansas City Royals, the good news is that help is clearly on the way and on display at this year’s 2012 MLB Futures Game.

The World roster has been announced and Yordano Ventura is going to be starting the game against Jake Odorizzi. Both pitchers should factor into KC’s future rotation although Ventura is likely a year or more behind. However, fans can at least catch a glimpse of the pitcher to come with Ventura leading off the game.

Ventura is 3-5 with a 3.30 ERA for Class A Wilmington. He’s struck out 98 batters in 76-plus innings.

2012 MLB Futures Game: World Roster
2B: Jean Segura, LAA
SS: Jurickson Profar, TEX
RF: Oscar Taveras, STL
LF: Alfredo Marte, ARI
DH: Xander Bogaerts, BOS
3B: Wilmer Flores, NYM
3B: Wilmer Flores, NYM
1B: Jesus Aguilar, CLE
CF: Jae-Hoon Ha, CHC
C: Christian Bethancourt, ATL
RHP: Yordano Ventura, KC

Read more about the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium at SB Nation Kansas City. Head over to Baseball Nation for news and analysis around Major League Baseball. Also, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for video commentary.

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2012 MLB Futures Game: Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi Highlight U.S. Roster

Kansas City is the host site for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, so there’s already a local flavor in every aspect of the festivities happening all weekend long and into next week. But today’s 2012 MLB Futures game also includes several Royals prospects given the depth and talent in the farm system.

The U.S. and World rosters have been announced and the U.S. roster in particular has some players that Royals fans will get to know in coming years.

Wil Myers is the right fielder for the U.S. team and he’s been slugging the ball at an incredible rate in 2012 after a disappointing 2011 season. He’s always been heralded as a future slugger for the heart of KC’s order whenever he finally arrives in the Majors, and 27 home runs this year between Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA) serves as the evidence.

Jake Odorizzi is the starting pitcher for the U.S. roster and he’s blossoming at the right time for a Royals team in search of a starter who can come in and help immediately in the rotation.

"It’s the best thing you can do if you’re a pitcher: lead off in your hometown stadium," Odorizzi said. "I’m really looking forward to it. George Brett is our coach and he’s an awesome guy to be coaching our team. It’s going to be a really exciting day.

"I’ve never really had to do this before. I’m going to try and throw like I normally do, but I’m sure there might be some adrenaline going, so I’ll have to rein it in a little bit. It’s really fun. I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my inning of work."

Here’s the complete U.S. Roster:
SS: Billy Hamilton, CIN
2B: Kolten Wong, STL
RF: Wil Myers, KC
3B: Mike Olt, TEX
1B: Jonathan Singleton, HOU
LF: Michael Choice, OAK
DH: Nick Castellanos, DET
C: Tommy Joseph, SF
CF: Anthony Gose, TOR
RHP: Jake Odorizzi, KC

Read more about the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium at SB Nation Kansas City. Head over to Baseball Nation for news and analysis around Major League Baseball. Also, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for video commentary.

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MLB All-Star Game: Bryce Harper, Michael Bourn And Baseball's Missed Opportunity

Today Ian Desmond, even on a day where he was 2 for 2 with a home run, was announced as a player who would have to miss the 2012 MLB All-Star Game with a strained oblique. It’s a sad moment for a Washington Nationals hitter who deserves to get in with a banner year for a shortstop — the sort of breakout campaign the Nats have been waiting for Desmond to have. Suddenly the National League roster had an opening. The question was: who would fill it?

Michael Bourn of the Atlanta Braves has been announced as the team’s replacement and it’s a solid selection that’s hard to argue with on the surface. Bourn is having an excellent season in a year where he will be a free agent, and he’s making himself a lot of money in this now All-Star campaign. With a .305 average, 7 home runs, 32 RBI and 23 stolen bases, Bourn has been an excellent part of the Braves line-up.

But what is missing here is the perfect opportunity to introduce the greater baseball world to a player in his rookie season who will end up at this game for the next decade or more anyway: Bryce Harper. In failing to put Harper on the team in any way, baseball is missing a chance to hype its own players. In the end, that’s the one thing that matters most about the All-Star Game.

If anything, Tuesday night’s game is an exhibition. The ratings might not be through the roof, but they don’t have to be. The game might be meaningless on the grand scale, but that’s okay. There are enough fans and enough attention to make the game purposeful if Bud Selig were to use it right. Instead, good enough players get to pat themselves on the back for 80 games worth of good-to-great stats.

Albert Pujols is not at the game. He should be. Bryce Harper is not at the game. He should be as well. Baseball is a slow game that lacks the star power of the NBA and overall popularity of the NFL. Relying on history and tradition and the old America’s Pastime moniker is one thing, but baseball could also become proactive and showcase its greatest stars in a game that no one knows what to do with. Instead, Michael Bourn will make an All-Star appearance and Bryce Harper will remain a star on a level one tier lower than he should be.

Harper is one of the game’s greatest young hitters, a player celebrated since he first came into the system being drafted No. 1 overall. Baseball needs to celebrate such players, allowing everyone to meet them instead of baseball fans in the Eastern time zone. As great as the Nats have been this year, many baseball fans aren’t familiar with the reasons why. Harper could help them with that.

This isn’t about Bourn not being the right choice, but rather that Harper should have already been in a week or more ago. The system is wrong. The voting is wrong. The final vote thing was a joke. To even have a chance of Yu Darvish being replaced by Jon Broxton is stupid. Stupid. Darvish is this year’s big import for one of the league’s best teams having an incredible year. He belongs there — not the closer on a one year deal subbing in for an injured Joakim Soria on a fourth place AL Central team.

The All-Star Game should be just that — All Stars. Make it about the game’s biggest personalities, the game’s greatest players, the game’s most charismatic stars. Baseball is the single worst sport at marketing its own players and it doesn’t even do it well inside its own schedule. It could start with remaking the All-Star game and making certain that the best and the brightest were there every year.

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MLB All Star Game Rosters: National League Features Buster Posey, Ryan Braun

As the MLB All Star Game draws near on July 10, the official rosters have been announced minus the Final Vote competition which allows one more player to make the All-Star competition from each league via fan vote. The National League has a loaded roster and features leading NL vote-getter Buster Posey as well as some familiar faces in new places.

Carlos Beltran arrived in St. Louis hoping to help make up for the loss of Albert Pujols, but he’s exceeded all expectations with a first half worthy of an MVP run. Ryan Braun is also performing incredibly after dealing with allegations of performance enhancing drugs through the offseason. Here’s the complete NL roster.

NATIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER

Starters
C Buster Posey, SF
1B Joey Votto, CIN
2B Dan Uggla, ATL
SS Rafael Furcal, STL
3B Pablo Sandoval, SF
OF Melky Cabrera, SF
OF Carlos Beltran, STL
OF Matt Kemp, LAD

Pitchers
RHP Matt Cain, SF
LHP Aroldis Chapman, CIN
RHP R.A. Dickey, NYM
LHP Gio Gonzalez, WAS
LHP Cole Hamels, PHI
RHP Joel Hanrahan, PIT
LHP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
RHP Craig Kimbrel, ATL
RHP Lance Lynn, STL
LHP Wade Miley, ARI
RHP Jonathan Papelbon, PHI
RHP Stephen Strasburg, WAS
RHP Huston Street, SD

Reserves
C Yadier Molina, STL
C Carlos Ruiz, PHI
1B Bryan LaHair, CHC
2B Jose Altuve, HOU
SS Starlin Castro, CHC
SS Ian Desmond, WAS
3B David Wright, NYM
OF Ryan Braun, MIL
OF Jay Bruce, CIN
OF Carlos Gonzalez, COL
OF Andrew McCutchen, PIT
OF Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

The MLB All-Star Game will be held on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

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MLB All Star Game Rosters: American League Boasts Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder

The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is only days away and the rosters have now been announced minus the winner of the Firestone Final Vote which includes Jonathan Broxon of the Kansas City Royals on the American League side. Speaking of the AL, the rest of the roster has been announced and we have the complete list for you below.

Prince Fielder made the team in his first season in the AL, while Albert Pujols is notably absent. Justin Verlander helps anchor the staff a year after his history-making 2011 season, and Josh Hamilton is the leading vote-getter of all time with over 11 million votes. Check out the complete AL roster below.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ROSTER

Starters
C Mike Napoli, TEX
1B Prince Fielder, DET
2B Robinson Cano, NYY
3B Adrian Beltre, TEX
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF Curtis Granderson, NYY
OF Jose Bautista, TOR
DH David Ortiz, BOS

Pitchers
RHP Ryan Cook, OAK
LHP Matt Harrison, TEX
RHP Felix Hernandez, SEA
RHP Jim Johnson, BAL
RHP Joe Nathan, TEX
RHP Chris Perez, CLE
LHP David Price, TB
RHP Fernando Rodney, TB
LHP CC Sabathia, NYY
LHP Chris Sale, CWS
RHP Justin Verlander, DET
RHP Jered Weaver, LAA
LHP C.J. Wilson, LAA

Reserves
C Joe Mauer, MIN
C Matt Wieters, BAL
SS Elvis Andrus, TEX
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
3B Miguel Cabrera, DET
2B Ian Kinsler, TEX
1B Paul Konerko, CWS
OF Adam Jones, BAL
OF Mike Trout, LAA
OF Mark Trumbo, LAA
DH Billy Butler, KC
DH Adam Dunn, CWS

The MLB All-Star Game will be held on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

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MLB All-Star Rosters: Jonathan Broxton, Yu Darvish Among Final Vote Candidates For American League

The Kansas CIty Royals officially have one player on the American League’s roster for the 2012 All-Star Game to be held in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. Billy Butler was announced today as a first-time All-Star after several solid seasons for the Royals. However, he might have some company for the host city if Jonathan Broxton, the team’s closer in the wake of injuries to Greg Holland and Joakim Soria this season, can make it in by winning the Final Vote competition.

Broxton is having a great season in 2012 for the Royals after signing a one-year free agent deal this offseason. He has 20 saves with a 2.05 ERA in nearly 31 innings of work for KC. His consistency at the back of the Royals bullpen has helped the team close out more close games in 2012 than any season in recent memory and has given the team a chance to take the AL Central this season with a good second half.

His competition for the Firestone Final Vote includes Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish, Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri, Orioles starter Jason Hammel and White Sox starter Jake Peavy.

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