And to borrow another NHL idea, let’s do a fastest-runner competition. One sprint around the bases per runner, timed. Fastest time wins.We could have the batter bunt, and time starts when the bat makes contact with the ball. Or we could just have the runner start at home plate and go from there, without the charade of a bunt/fake swing. Either way, this would be a quick, fun event limited to only players who earned All-Star status (sorry, Billy Hamilton). MORE: 30 teams, 30 grades: Ranking every team’s offseasonMLB should take note. We have ideas for the whole three-day All-Star event, but we’re especially excited about our proposal for how to maintain interest throughout all nine innings of MLB’s All-Star game. Let’s jump in, shall we? New All-Star Game formatIt’s an exhibition, and we’re finally past the ludicrous idea that the result should matter (hallelujah, btw). So let’s have fun with the setup of the game. The NHL has completely abandoned the idea of having its All-Star Game resemble a regular-season hockey contest — it’s a 3-on-3 tournament — and obviously the NBA is doing, essentially, the same thing. So here’s the idea for MLB’s Midsummer Classic: Let’s break the nine-inning game into three-inning segments and pit the divisions against each other. So, for example, the first three innings are AL East All-Stars against the NL East All-Stars, then the Central players face each other for innings 4-5-6 and the West stars go toe to toe for the final three frames. How much fun would that be? The scores from each three-inning segment would carry over, so it would still be the AL vs. the NL for the overall game. But if, for example, the AL East and Central build a 5-2 lead on the NL East and Central, but then the AL West blows the lead and the NL West comes back? That’s division shame — and division glory. Fans would love that. This format would also ensure that the big stars are spread out through the game. As the contest unfolds now, the voted-on starters are gone by the sixth inning, and it’s the reserves who get the “important” at-bats in the late innings. Imagine the AL West throwing out Jose Altuve, Matt Chapman and Mike Trout to lead off the seventh inning instead of Whit Merrifield, Carlos Santana and Daniel Vogelbach (the three seventh-inning batters for the AL in the 2019 All-Star Game). No disrespect to those three, of course, but replenishing the star power every few innings keeps the interest high. And if it’s tied after nine innings? Reset everything, and the managers can put any players they want out there — any batting order, any defensive alignment. There would have to be pitchers designated as extra-inning only guys, because you can’t ask a pitcher who threw the third inning to come back in the 10th. But that’s not really different than the setup now. The format for choosing the All-Stars could remain, essentially, the same. Fans can still vote for players at each position; even though they might not play the first inning of the game, depending on their division, they’d still be guaranteed a spot. Each team would still get at least one representative, and the reserves and pitchers are still chosen the same way. And there’s nothing wrong with expanding the rosters to make sure no deserving players are left off because of division requirements. And the division order could be set in a couple of different ways: MLB could rotate the division order every year, the previous year’s World Series-winning manager could set the order or the order could be set by the deserving starting pitcher in the league that won the previous year’s World Series (for example, if Trevor Bauer is the NL’s best pitcher in the first half of the year and Nats skipper Davey Martinez chooses him, the Central would go first in 2020).Skills contestsI was in the arena for the NHL Skills competition last week, and I was entertained by the idea, even if the execution of the events was a little bit lacking (but that’s a different story). MLB already has the Home Run Derby, and that shouldn’t go away. The timed rounds were an excellent addition to the format, but maybe tighten the event a little bit to allow for another competition or two. MLB could take a page from the NHL for one of those events; the NHL has, basically, two accuracy competitions — the actual accuracy event, and the shootout event that was added this year. Instead of only celebrating the power, let’s celebrate the players who can, as long-ago Hall of Famer Wee Willie Keeler famously said, “hit ’em where they ain’t.”Let’s set up six targets (big nets, essentially) around the field, four in the outfield — one down each line, one in each power alley — and two in the infield, one on the left side and one on the right side. Each player gets three swings at each target, and the player who gets the most baseballs in the nets wins. No tournament format, just 18 swings per player. And want to really keep it enjoyable? Put Ichiro — the best bat-control hitter of the past few decades — in the competition for as long as he wants to compete. Seriously, just straight-up steal this exact format for a bunt contest. It’s perfect. The NBA unveiled its new All-Star Game format on Sunday, and it was a rousing success. For the first time in, well, ever, fans were glued to their TV sets after halftime, and everyone — players included — cared how the contest would end.It was, to be honest, pretty thrilling (except the whole ending-on-a-free throw thing, which is an easy fix for next year). And it shows what a new and novel approach to an exhibition of the sport’s best players can and should be — thoroughly entertaining.