There is no way I am the only person who has problems with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Not just problems with the game itself, not just problems with the selection of players, but problems with the All-Star festivities as a whole.
Every year, we see the exact same headlining events of All-Star week—the Home Run Derby and the actual American League vs. National League All Star Game. Come on Commissioner Selig… show us some creativity, give us something new!
First, the Home Run Derby needs to be changed. I love watching a tape measure homer, but watching it hundreds of times over the course of a few hours gets pretty boring. Especially with Chris Berman’s incessant “back, back, back, back…” shut the f**k up Chris Berman. At least be creative with your homer calls, toss in a “Holy Toledo,” or something.
I want to see a Home Run Derby more like the NBA Three-Point Contest. Have the pitchers toss out moneyballs to the batters, worth two homers. Have targets on the fences for bonus points. Make the players hit homers to different parts of the field. Get creative, this could be a very cool event with a few rule tweaks.
Also, add a couple more home run derbies… a washed up ‘roided player derby, and a celebrity derby.
Judge the players however you want, but you know you would love to see a home run bashing contest between Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro.
Then you trot out Tiger Woods, Andy Roddick, and LeBron James for a celebrity derby. Tiger can drive a golf ball 300 yards, Roddick can serve a tennis ball 140 mph, and LeBron is nothing short of an athletic freak. I bet they all have the arm strength to hit a homer. Maybe we have to bring the fences in a little, but whatever, it sure as hell would be fun to watch.
As for the game itself, make it what is was intended to be, and what it was for years… a fun exhibition. Get rid of the stupid rule about home field advantage in the World Series. I want a meaningless game, with teams not afraid to try stupid ploys to make the game more fun for the players and fans.
I want to see hidden ball tricks, triple steals, and fat first basemen trying to cover center field. A few years ago, we saw Torii Hunter rob Barry Bonds of a homer in the All-Star Game… I want to see Ryan Howard try to do the same thing. Why? Because it would be different, it would be more fun to watch!
But of course, teams can’t try any of this, because “this time, it counts.” Baseball fans watch 162 games every year that count! This is the one game that should have no significance at all beyond being an enjoyable spectacle for the fans.
Beyond that, expand the festivities. Think about the NBA All-Star events. Beyond the game itself, there is the dunk contest, which is always cool. There is the Three-Point contest. They just added HORSE, which was a great idea. Add some more fun stuff for the MLBers.
Could there be some sort of baseball skills competition? I don’t see why not—baseball analysts love to talk about five tool players, let's test those five tools, watch a sort of baseball pentathlon as the best all around players showcase their ability to hit for average, hit for power, run the bases, field, and throw.
How about a 20 year All-Star reunion softball game—bring back the members of the 1989 All-Star teams, and have them play a game of slow-pitch. We could have a great blast from the past as we watch the likes of Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Orel Hershiser, and Nolan Ryan duke it out.
Or maybe bring this year's guys who almost made the All-Star teams, and have them play kickball! Players like Ian Kinsler and Mark Reynolds may have been snubs, they may have lost the final vote, lets get them out there and test their leg power!
Why not an all-manager softball game. The 30 MLB managers all wear uniforms. Let's get them all on the diamond and watch them get those uniforms dirty! Who wouldn’t want to watch Jim Leyland huffing and puffing as he tries to beat out an infield single?
Whatever the changes are, no matter how ridiculous, I think they will only do good for baseball. All Star week is officially a stale product, it has gotten boring. It is time to try some new, radical ideas to inject some life back into what should be a wonderful event for baseball fans and players alike.
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