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Ranking the All-Star Games in the Four Major Sports

Joe HalversonCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2012

Ranking the All-Star Games in the Four Major Sports

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    The NBA All-Star Game is to be held on Sunday, and we have every reason to believe it will be a terrific event for fans and families alike.  

    But how does it compare to the games in the other professional sports?  

    Certainly, all of the games have their own strengths and weaknesses, but which one is the best overall? Here is a comparison of the games for the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB.

Timing

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    1.  MLB

    2.  NBA

    3.  NHL

    4.  NFL

    MLB easily takes this category.  The other three games are all held a few weeks together and have to compete with other sports; MLB’s game is held in the middle of the summer and for a three-day period is the sole focus of the sports world.  In fact, the only days on the calendar that are guaranteed not to have any contests in the four major sports are the days before and after the MLB All-Star Game.  The only way that baseball could possibly improve on their game is if they played the game on the Fourth of July every year.

Location

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    1.  NFL

    2.  MLB

    3.  NBA

    4.  NHL

    Unlike the other games, the Pro Bowl is almost always played in a neutral location.  Since 1980, all but one Pro Bowl has been played in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu – three time zones away from the nearest NFL team.  As a result, the NFL is almost guaranteed pristine conditions for the game every single year.  The NBA gets points for experimenting with neutral sites, holding games in locations such as Las Vegas and JerryWorld.  MLB, however, gets the second spot for being the only sport where every playing field is truly unique and the style of play can actually be determined by the venue.


Side Events

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    1.  NHL

    2.  NBA

    3.  MLB

    4.  NFL

    This was perhaps the toughest category to judge, as I personally find MLB’s home run derby to be the best competition at any All-Star weekend.  However, both the NBA and NHL have a larger number of events, with the NBA getting the edge for having the famed dunk contest.  The NHL’s skills competition, however, earns points for having the most compelling competitions that actually feature in-game skills.  As for the NFL…do they even have any competitions other than the main event?

Look/Feel

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    1.  MLB

    2.  NBA

    3.  NHL

    4.  NFL

    More than any of the games, the MLB All-Star game actually looks and feels like a real game.  The Pro Bowl tries to hard not to injure players, turning the game into a glorified 7-on-7 offseason drill.  Both the NHL and NBA games tend to feature a lack of defense, though both have produced great drama over the years.  But aside from the number of pitching changes, MLB’s All-Star Game looks like any other game.  MLB’s substitution rules also make late-game strategy far more important than any other game. 

MVP Award

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    1.  NBA

    2.  MLB

    3.  NHL

    4.  NFL

    This was a very easy call.  Unlike the other three sports, all NBA players are judged by the exact same stats, which makes for relatively easy comparisons between each player.  More than any other award, the MVP of the NBA All-Star Game can be declared the best player in the world for at least a day.  MLB’s award gets the edge over the NHL’s because the game means much more in the grand scheme of things.

Drama

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    1.  MLB

    2.  NBA

    3.  NHL

    4.  NFL

    Even before they decided to make the All-Star Game determine homefield advantage for the World Series (which I consider the worst mistake of the Bud Selig era), MLB easily won this category.  For decades, this was the only time during the regular season in which the two leagues met on the same field.  While interleague play has diminished it somewhat, MLB still has fewer interconference games than any of the other sports.  And honestly:  would any other sport get the kind of backlash that MLB received for the tie 2002 All-Star Game?  I think not.

Overall

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    1.  MLB

    2.  NBA

    3.  NHL

    4.  NFL

    As great as the NBA’s All-Star Weekend can be, the edge has to go to MLB overall.  Baseball has the best timing, the best feel, and the most meaningful contest.  More than any of the other games, MLB’s All-Star Game is an anticipated event. 

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