All Star Games

Do you really care about the All Star Game? I used to; I really did. I looked forward to the annual clash of National League titans against American League titans. On the same field you could see (or hear when we only had a radio) Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Ted Williams. In the 1960s you could watch Harmon Killebrew or Roger Maris or maybe Al Kaline stand in against Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax or Juan Marichal. It was wonderful, but something changed.

It’s not like the players aren’t worth watching anymore. In the last dozen or so years I’ve gotten to turn on the television and watch Albert Pujols and Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw and a host of other worthies. And they are as good as the players I saw 50 years ago. But something has changed. Maybe I’ve just gotten older and no longer see the players as heroes. That at least is true; I no longer see them as heroes (that died sometime in the 1960s) and I’ve certainly gotten older and more jaded in my view of people and the world.

Part of what’s wrong is that the game has gotten lost in the “events” that precede it. I really don’t care to watch a bunch of guys stand around and take batting practice just to see who can hit how many balls how far. Another part is that with teams in the National League now regularly playing teams in the American League it’s no longer special to see the confrontations. Way back when Mantle only faced Koufax in either the World Series or the All Star game. Today Trout can face Kershaw with some frequency on a Thursday night in May.

And I don’t think the game is taken as seriously. I know it’s supposed to have¬†counted for home field in the World Series, but that didn’t make for significant difference in Series winners (or else Cleveland would be celebrating and Chicago would be waiting one more year). But when I watch it doesn’t seem that either the players or the managers take the game seriously. Maybe that’s because of cross league play or maybe it’s just the new generation of players and managers. Look how many players opt to miss the game.

The rosters are bigger so a lot of people are “All Stars” who probably shouldn’t be anywhere near an All Star game. With every team being required to send one player you have to expand rosters but 30 teams worth of players is a lot of players who weren’t going to be facing the other league’s big guns when there were only 16 teams. As a quick aside, maybe only the home team should be required to furnish a player. I mean if the last place Numbnuts are going to lose 100 games, tell me again why they should have an “All Star”?

Anyway that’s my rant for the day. I’ll be skipping the All Star game again, as I have for several years. It just doesn’t seem to matter any more.

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5 Responses to “All Star Games”

  1. rjkitch13 Says:

    I think we’re just getting old, V, but I agree with you. All-Star games don’t have the same lure they used to for me. I’m going to actually be at Knott’s Berry Farm tonight with a church group, so I’m going to miss the game. Go AL! (Or NL!) Doesn’t matter.

    • verdun2 Says:

      Your “Go AL! (Or NL!)” comment is part of the problem for me, I think. I used to root for the NL and now I find myself saying your next sentence “Doesn’t matter” a lot.
      v

  2. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    I hate be the grumpy lady, but I agree, too. I think it’s just not the same since interleague play. It’s not special.

    But, here was one — only one — glorious thing you missed by skipping last night’s home run derby. All the kids who get to be out on the field shagging the fly balls and bringing Gatorade to the batters? Every single batter, save one, ignored the kids, just took the Gatorade and towel and went back to being macho hitters. Except for Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies … who, when the little girl handed him a Gatorade in the middle of his homerunning and ran off, Charlie called her back over, leaned over and talked with her and laughed with her.

    It was beautiful and sweet and perfect. And, in that instant, I loved every single thing about baseball.

    It’s too bad the other guys couldn’t be bothered to talk to a kid or at least say “thank you” for the towel.

  3. keithosaunders Says:

    I agree with all of your points. The big deal breaker for me was the advent of inter-league play. Baseball in the corporate age just isn’t as much fun as it used to be, no matter how hard MLB tries to ram the fun down our throats.

  4. wkkortas Says:

    The thing about the All-Star game is it’s stuck in 1950. At one time, it was a great tool for the game, because you would never see Stan Musial hit against Bob Feller, plus (in most of the country) you were lucky to see one game televised a week. Now, you can see who you want anytime you want; The game was once one of, if not the, baseball’s marketing crown jewels. Now, it’s pretty much obsolete, and I don’t know if it can be fixed.

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