Major League Baseball: Why MLB's All-Star Game Is the Best in Sports

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Major League Baseball: Why MLB's All-Star Game Is the Best in Sports
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A few days remain until the 83rd annual MLB All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The debate of whether or not the exhibition game should determine home field advantage in the World Series continues.

After the controversial 2002 Midsummer Classic in which the game ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings, a lot of fan uproar surfaced.

Forty-two thousand plus fans purchased tickets and traveled to Miller Park in Milwaukee to watch the game. Millions of fans viewed it from the comfort of their own home. They all came away with the same question afterwards—why would a simple baseball exhibition game end in a tie?

The tie changed the course of All-Star history when Bud Selig announced in 2003 that the winner of the All-Star game would own home field advantage in the World Series. The media was all over the story, and fans strongly disagreed with the commissioner. 

The argument remains relevant to those who still disagree with the ruling: it’s just an exhibition game that shouldn't mean anything to the World Series. The teams' records should determine home field.

If there wasn't a tie, maybe history wouldn't have changed.

The MLB All-Star game is played 100 percent, compared to football, basketball and even hockey. Power pitchers throw in the middle to upper 90s. Hitters actually look ready to play and want to beat the other pitcher. Players run full speed on the base paths.

There is no question that the quality of the sport remains during their All-Star game.

Norm Hall/Getty Images

The NFL hosts their Pro Bowl in Hawaii after the Super Bowl on an annual basis. The intensity of the exhibition game—or lack thereof—has reached the point where Commissioner Roger Goodell has considered removing the event altogether.

There is no meaning to the game. Hardly any defense is played. Players don’t want to risk injury in a game that doesn't mean anything.  

Everyone is ready for the offseason.

According to the USA Today, the 2012 Pro Bowl ratings dropped 8.1 percent from 2011. With the money the NFL makes yearly, a large payment increase to the winning side could make every player want to play the game the way it should be played.

Fans want to see Jason Pierre-Paul rush the passer, and not just stand there and watch Brandon Marshall catch touchdown passes all the time.

The NBA’s All-Star weekend is popular, but a lack of defense and intensity for three quarters of the game makes it hard to watch. The only excitement is in the fourth quarter if it’s a close game and real basketball is played.

The players get paid no matter what, but a significant reward to the victors could be worth it just to see a better played game. Home court in the NBA Finals and a large monetary award to the winning side with nothing to the losers could make a difference.  The players want to have a good time, but also want the winning check. 

The MLB All-Star game is more than just an exhibition game—it’s a playoff game. The players who are selected feel like they are helping their league. Representatives from competing teams want to win it for their organization.

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The Midsummer Classic is the only time of the year when a few players from the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox can become teammates in a goal to win a game.

A fan of a contending team knows their organization has a chance to host the majority of the fall classic games if their side wins. They are more likely to tune in and root for their side.

The league that won the All-Star game and owned home field advantage has won four of the last five World Series, and is 5-4 since 2003.

The extra Wild Card slot has added two more teams into the playoffs. Those teams would love to have a shot at owning home field advantage in the World Series.

It brings competitiveness to a game. All the players love to have fun and get to know their peers but, when it’s all said and done, they want to win.

The fans select the best players for a reason. They want to see the best out there playing the sport they love to watch. Fans expect to see high intensity every game. If they didn't expect to see the highest level of competition, then it would be fair to select just about anyone to play. 

Not only can they watch the best in the world play baseball, they can also definitively root for one side in hopes that it could help their team in October.

If the other sports implemented an incentive in their exhibition games, they might be able to compete with MLB for the best All-Star game.

The question that everyone who disagrees with Commissioner Selig needs to ask themselves is, are you going to watch the Pro Bowl next season?

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