Finally, after three days of festivities, the All-Star Game is tonight. There’s lots of drama going on besides the game – it’s the last time you’ll see Tony LaRussa in a baseball uniform and managing players. There is a knuckleballer on the mound tonight. But is the All-Star Game still relevant?
Back in the day, the only time players would see players from the other league was in the All-Star Game or in the playoffs. Thanks to interleague play, players no longer have to wait until the playoffs or the All-Star Game to see players from the other league play. Players can also watch TV to see players from the other league. That part of the mystique of the All-Star Game is long gone.
In my opinion, the All-Star break has become too commercialized, with too many activities. On Sunday, it’s All Star Sunday with the Futures game and a celebrity and legends softball game. The Home Run Derby takes place on Monday night. On Tuesday, there’s the parade of all the players to the field and then it’s finally time for the actual game. During all these days, FanFest is being held. It’s a three ring circus that detracts from the actual game.
The Home Run Derby can sometimes wear out batters to where they have trouble hitting the rest of the season. In 2009, Albert Pujols participated in the Home Run Derby and his hitting suffered for the rest of the season. Jim Edmonds got hurt in 2003 during the Home Run Derby.
The only one of these All-Star events I would keep would be FanFest. It’s a great experience for those who might never get to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. The FanFest trucks could travel to all the major league cities every year and bring the exhibits for fans to see, spending a week in each town.
Home field advantage is overrated as well. It needs to go back to whatever World Series team has the best record gets home field advantage. It gives a team something to strive for, instead of backing into home field advantage because of an All-Star game win.
Not having an All-Star Game would save teams a lot of money. Players have it written in their contract that if they get selected for the All-Star Game that they will get a bonus.
The one good thing about the All-Star Game is the jolt it gives to the economy of the town in which the game is played. Fans, players, reporters and broadcasters come to town and they need a place to stay, restaurants to eat at, etc., thereby pumping money into the local economy. The playoffs and World Series also pumps money into a town’s economy, however.
If the All-Star Game was no longer played, MLB could still take the 3 day break midseason – they could just call it a summer break. The 162 game regular season schedule, as well as the now 4 rounds of playoffs, is one of the most grueling schedules in professional sports. The players could use the break to go home and spend some time with their families and recharge their batteries. The All-Star break is already figured into teams’ schedules, so there would be no interruption of regular games.
If we’re going to keep the All-Star Game, then let’s go old school and just have the game without all of the other festivities. And it wouldn’t “count” for anything, it would be for the players to just have a fun time. Let’s take the fans out of the voting as well. Too many teams have fans “stuff the ballot box” for their favorite players. Admittedly, I have problems filling out the American League side of the ballot – I have to ask hubby for help with my selections. I’m sure I’m not the only person with that problem. A player should be selected by his peers and the managers to play in the All-Star Game because of his excellent playing ability, not because he’s won a popularity contest.
No flaming now – those are my opinions and that and $1.25 will get you a 20 oz. soda in a vending machine. Thanks for reading, though! See you next time!
P.S.: Go National League!