Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The All-Star Game, a Mid-Summer Tear Jerker

by dsnyder (writer), Ft.Lauderdale, July 04, 2007


On July 10th Major League Baseball will hold its 78th All-Star Game.

I can’t wait until July 11th.

It isn’t that I dislike the All-Star game, or any of the weekend’s events. In reality, I am among the growing number of sports fans that just aren’t intrigued by the whole event. The home run derby is the equivalent to watching grass grow. It’s what the three point contest would be without a timer, a guy practicing.

What I can’t wait for is the end of the incessant whining from fans, sports columnists, and radio personalities.

The first real wave of infant like behavior rolls out shortly after the announcement of the voting and rosters. Fans begin to rampage about the lack of credit given to their team or player. This argument spills into fighting and speculation about the fan vote, which turns into temper tantrums about Bud Selig’s home-field advantage rule.

The final product of all of this rather unmanly behavior is days upon days of “lets just get rid of it” radio.

Pages upon pages of “kill the Midsummer Classic” columns.

Every year it comes at a slow point in the sports editorial calendar, and it is enough to choke a sports fan to death. The must and dust from these rants fills the lungs of anyone just looking for the slightest bit of sports entertainment, and the only thing that can resuscitate them is the beginning of training camp for the NFL.

The argument presented to end MLB’s All-Star game usually has at least one of the three following rationales:

1.No one is watching anymore
2.The home field advantage rule is unfair
3.The voting process is flawed

As far as the first one, that is a no win battle with sports writers and fans.

The Midsummer Classic has the highest ratings and market share of any other professional sports all-star game. It destroys the Pro Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, and the NHL, well, come on, it’s the NHL.

The ratings have been slipping over the last 16 years. However, 14,000,000 households still tuned in for the game in 2006.

All the event would need to do to increase the ratings would be to cater to the new breed of American audience. The television watching public is surely different from that in 1988, the last time the game had a rating above 20.0.

Maybe we can have a special edition of American Idol between innings. Perhaps we could drop the teams on a deserted island, and they would have to use their strength and wits to get off. The team that survived would get home-field for the World Series.

A Bud Selig, Barry Bonds cage match before the game.

A timely idea would be to have Paris Hilton throw out the opening pitch.

Really any attempt to make the game more popular in today’s market would spark the uproar of the sports writers and fans that were originally in an uproar about the lack of ratings.

Basically, it would give them something else to whimper about.

The last two arguments by those ready to destroy an event that has taken place since 1933, get rid of the home-field advantage rule and change the voting, sound a lot like what my niece does when she doesn’t get the desert she wants.

If I can’t have a chocolate chip cookie, I don’t even want a cookie. And if we have to have a home-field advantage rule I don’t even want a 78 year old tradition.

The argument is that this rule is unfair because not all players are going to play hard for the home field, since not all teams will make the playoffs.

You’re right. It is a bad rule, as so many rules in sports are. But just because I didn’t like what David Stern did this year in the Suns- Spurs series, I didn’t write for him to cancel the Finals.

And on top of everything, the Cards didn’t even need the home-field advantage to beat the Tigers in five last year.

But they still beat on their desks

Chocolate chip cookie

Chocolate chip cookie

No, not everyone’s player can make it to the All-Star game. As a Marlins fan I would liked to have seen Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez represent the NL, but I also understand why they aren’t there. If you take the vote away from the fans, then you are going to see a huge drop in enthusiasm about the event. If you don’t let a player from each team represent their league you are going to lose even more viewers.

How do you think people would feel if we went back to the way they did it from 1935-1946 when the entire roster was chosen by the manager. I don’t think that would go over well since the belly aching over the manager’s pitching and reserves choices got us the “players vote”.

Someone grab a pacifier, because things aren’t going to change all at once. And most of the changes that have come about through complaint over the years have now built up to new things for grown men to throw tirades about.

So we will have to hear this whining, again, and again, in late June and early July. The musty sports writers will write about killing off the only thing in sports older then they are.

Nick Canepa, of the San Diego Union Tribune, wrote in his column, All-Star Game twinkle past; flickering left,

“The baseball All-Star Game has run its course. It's had it.”

Excuse me a second, I have some dust in my throat.

Of course his argument was based on, the home-field advantage rule, and the near absence of Barry Bonds from the roster.

If you want to do away with it Nick, do away with it.

But please, God help me if I start to hear “I miss the All-Star game” radio in mid July.

About the Writer

dsnyder is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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