Baseball is Americas past time because its relaxing, competitive, and fun. Anyone could play baseball, and, it never mattered if you were overweight, crippled, short, tall, etc… give em’ a bat and a glove and you could play in your yard for hours on end. Best of all you could then go home or to a stadium and see your favorite player do the same exact thing. It was fun, and the all star game was like the world series. Even if your team was in dead last and destined to lose 100 games, you could still watch YOUR teams player square off against the best of the best. I could think of no better memory then a game 12 years ago in Coors.
12 years ago the all star break had me glued to the TV. The All star game was in Denver, and I remember watching sports center after sportcenter where all they talked about was the Coors field effect, and how the balls just sail over the fence. The HR derby had the likes of Big Mac, ARod, Griffey, Thome, Castilla, etc… playing in the game. 2 hours before the HR derby even started I remember practicing my best Chris Berman impersonations “back, back, back, back, back, back….GONE” Sure Griffey only hit 3 in the final round and still won 3-2 over Thome, but the HR derby was exciting. The All star game (also won the by AL) became the highest scoring ASG ever. The AL blasted 19 hits while the NL had 12. That might have been the most memorable moment of the year had that not have been the year Tino Martinez struck out on a 2-2 pitch in game 1 of the World Series (oh wait!)
This years all star week on the other hand has already been arguable the most forgettable all star week already, and the game hasnt even been played yet. The only reason it might not be number 1 is because I already dont remember much about the last few years ASG aside from the fact that the AL Won (which they always do). Instead of the likes of ARod, Adrian, Pujols, Fielder, Braun, etc… we saw Chris Young, Vernon Wells, and Nick Swisher. In fact I turned on the HR Derby just in time to see the other CY hit 1 HR and Wells hit 2, then quickly turned the channel before I fell asleep. The derby used to be the place where the biggest hitters face off against each other, and sure they might have all been juiced, but it was fun to watch. Now its draw a name out of a hat and hope that someone is willing.
Even worse then the HR Derby might be the all star game. I know every year a few players decline due to injury, but this year a staggering 16 players (17 if you count Beltre) 16!! Sure a few of them are legitimately injured (Utley, Pedroia, Tulo…) but are you really going to tell me that Mariano Rivera is too injured to play? Or do you think these players might rather fake a “slight” injury and decline to play?
The MLB All Star Game was the greatest ASG of the 4 major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) because it was fun,and not just for the fans. Anyone remember when Tori Hunter robbed a HR from Barry Bonds and as they passed eachother at the end of the inning they started laughing? Or when Larry Walker turned his cap around against Roger Clemens? Heck, seeing Clemens face a lineup with Gwynn, Big Mac, Bonds, Chipper, etc… was worth being pumped over. David Price vs Yadier Molina, Martin Prado, and Andre Either….not so much.
Bud Selig with his “this time it counts” was supposedly designed to make the game more exciting because it gave the players something to play for. Instead it turned the game from something fun to something serious. In that 1998 game we could have seen Griffey come to the plate with a whiffle ball bat against the Big Unit and everyone would have laughed. Now, if Pujols does that against CC (oh wait hes not playing), Mariano (nope), Weaver (try again), Cliff Lee (finally), you would have people being upset because “this game means something.” Yes, baseball is a business and competition is great but not the all star game. Save that for August and September or any time a “rivalry” series is happening (and no not Padres vs Mariners). BS Bud Selig, quit changing baseball, and maybe both the fans and players can start having fun again!