July 14, 2003
The All-Star break
So now we enter that three-day long, dark tea-time of the baseball fan's soul known as the All-Star break. For approximately the 28th consecutive summer (not counting 1981, when the ASG was played immediately following the end of the strike), I will pay little if any attention to this midsummer exhibition game. It's not that I have any objections to it per se - really, the baseball All Star Game is the closest thing to a real game among the major sports - it's just that I can't bring myself to care about a game that doesn't count.
What's that you say? FOX Sports says that this time it does count? Something to do with home field advantage in the World Series? I tell you what - go ahead and watch the game, and if you see any clearly identifiable incidents of players playing harder than in previous years, I'll concede the point. I still won't care, though.
I know that baseball is doing everything that the fragile little minds of Selig and the moneychangers at FOX can think of to make this thing more "real" and "meaningful" in an attempt to boost ratings, but I can't help the feeling that All-Star games, in any sport, have outlived their need. Back in the day of no cable, Internet, or interleague play, there was a good chance you might never get to see a star player from the other league. The All-Star Game fixed that. It's long since outlived that purpose, and I think attempts to turn it into an event with Home Run Derbies and Futures Games and whatnot is just gussying up something that's obsolete. It would be OK by me if the All Star Game were played after the season, as the Pro Bowl is.
I don't think the All Star Game has needed to change. I think it was fine when it was just an exhibition of the best players of each league. There's so much makeup troweled onto it now that we've lost the natural beauty it once was. Pity, that.
UPDATE: David Pinto agrees with my assessment of the All Star Game's popularity.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 14, 2003 to Baseball
Play after the season by all means, particularly if you hold it in the same location as the Pro Bowl (Honolulu). That would pretty much guarantee participation, as the NFL has found, and would have the side effect of giving us Hawai'i folk a chance to see pro baseball, which we haven't had since 1978 when the Islanders moved out.
After the season? Are you crazy? The only part of the AllStar experience that still holds any appeal is the 28th annual argument of whether the game should be for the best players, or those players having the best spring.
Postpone til the end of the season, the arguments dry up, and there is nothing left but the new Shiny! league uniforms.
Personally, I think the Fox slogan should be "This time, who cares?". They expand the rosters to 32, they still require one player from each team to be selected, and Boob Selig and his cronies still can't get it right.
I defy anyone to tell me that Mike Williams and Lance Carter deserve to even be mentioned in the All Star Game program, never mind be selected for the team. At this rate, I'd rather see Ralph Kiner represent the Pirates and Lou Pinella represent the Devil Rays. In fact, I'll trade you ten Lance Carters for a Lou Pinella.
I like the idea of moving the game to after the season. Alternatively, how about playing it the day after the regular season ends, or do they need that day for the playoffs?
I was in shock when I was sitting in my hotel in London last year and saw that the game ended in an 11 inning tie via the CNN crawl. I sent my brother an E-mail asking what happened and he gave me the details.
This time it counts? I'll be at Richmond County Bank Ballpark watching the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones tomorrow night. That'll count more for me.
I've been thinking every so often along those lines, Chuck, and I think you're right: the All-Star Game has outlived ts usefulness, especially since interleague play started. Well, we knew the powers that be were idiots.
William: you're seeing the SI Yankees and the Cyclones tonight? I envy you.