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2017 MLB All-Star Game Preview: Five Washington Nationals in Miami for Midsummer Classic

This time it doesn’t count, and everyone is completely fine with that. We’re thrilled with that, and with the fact that there will be five Washington Nationals to follow tonight.

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

This time it doesn’t count. Some of the Washington Nationals who are playing in the 88th MLB All-Star Game tonight in Miami’s Marlins Park said they’re just fine with that.

“I think the best team with the best record should get home field advantage,” Ryan Zimmerman told reporters last Monday, when the Nationals’ All-Stars (minus Stephen Strasburg, who started that night), met with reporters in the nation’s capital.

“I don’t think it should be decided by an exhibition game.”

“I think the best team in baseball with the best record should have home field advantage and I’m all about that,” Bryce Harper told reporters on Monday.

From 2003-2016, Major League Baseball decided home field advantage in the World Series at the All-Star Game after the ‘02 Midsummer Classic ended in a tie after 11 innings.

"This energizes it. This gives them something to really play for," then-Commissioner Bud Selig explained at the time.

"People pay a lot of money to see that game. They deserve to see the same intensity they see all year long. Television people pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a meaningless exhibition game."

Zimmerman told reporters on Monday that there were no concerns about the level of competition falling off now that home field in the World Series is no longer at stake.

“I think when you put these guys on a field, even if they say, ‘It doesn’t count anymore,’ as soon as we get out there, I think the competitiveness is going to kick in.”

Zimmerman, who will be appearing in his second All-Star Game, and his first since ‘09, told reporters last week that it meant a lot to him to have another opportunity to be part of the game.

“I think it’s cool to have your family come down there and kind of experience it,” he said.

“We get to play baseball every day and we get to form relationships with a lot of the guys just from playing against them for years and now you get to go down there and hang out with those guys for two days and talk baseball, but for my dad, and my brother, and wife to be able to come down there and sort of experience something at that level is kind of fun and I hear the parties are pretty good.”

[ed. note - “Zimmerman’s ‘parties’ comment was in reference to Max Scherzer saying that he looked forward to the All-Star Game, “... the whole thing. The parties, the home run derby, the game, the red carpet, more parties, it’s a party for like 72 hours.”]

Zimmerman, Harper and Daniel Murphy are starting for the NL squad, along with Max Scherzer, who learned on Monday that he would be starting for the National League.

Scherzer said he was looking forward to going head-to-head with American League starter Chris Sale, of the Boston Red Sox, for as long as the starters are on the hill.

“I love the way Chris goes out and competes,” Scherzer said.

“Going against him when he was with the White Sox, he always brought the best out of me every time I faced him. He's a guy that goes deep into a game. He'll do anything to win. He makes big-time pitches all the way -- even if he takes 120 pitches. By far he's been one of my favorite players, pitchers to watch. It's even better to compete against him.”

“It is a blast,” Harper said last week.

“You’re around all the best of the best. You want to be down there, it’s definitely a huge honor. Being able to go with a lot of my teammates this year. It’s a blast.”

“It’s something that you can enjoy with your family and friends and all of baseball. So you get to see American League, National League, all of the greatest players in the game right now. It’s definitely humbling and a blessing. And to have the fans that we do that voted for all us, it’s huge.”