There are a lot of people who seem to cry at this time of year about how useless the All-Star game has become and how they refuse to denigrate themselves by watching...and every year I try and turn those voices off.
The excuses are endless: the game is meaningless, inter-league play has ruined it, due to the Internet and satellite television packages we already see the stars all season long...yada-yada-yada.
It's sad how easy it is for people to complain about things...and how hard it seemingly is for people to see the good in the things in our lives.
Yes the All-Star game is kind of like your high school prom. Everyone that normally is considered the "in crowd" (All-Stars) gets to celebrate and party. The prom King or Queen is announced (Home Run Derby) and the "In crowd" revels in another status symbol to add to their list of superficial trophies that supplant real life achievement.
Except that this is event is about real achievement: on field achievement. I agree it may have lost some of its fan charm because of the excuses listed above. I think the All-Star game has developed more into a game for the players that play in it and for the city that hosts it. But my question is: what's wrong with that?
These people that cry about not watching the All-Star game unfortunatley fill the role of the guy at your prom without a date that stands in the corner and complains about how freaking happy everyone else is and how stupid the whole event is. Or...more like the anti-prom crowd that doesn't even go to the dance - based upon the 'principle' that presence at the event would dirty their soul.
I disagree the game is meaningless. The game now means more than ever with home field advantage for the World Series on the line. Your team can have the best record in baseball but when it comes to where that critical fourth of seven World Series game could be played. Well now it's all up to the All-Stars in the AL and NL to try and secure that October advantage for whichever team from their respective league ends up going...and on July 15th there are a lot of All-Stars who still think their team may be there.
For example, where were the NL Champion Colorado Rockies in the standings at the break last year? Answer: 44-44 See the point?
OK - So if your the fan that doesn't punch all-star ballots any more, you have no interest in watching the best players come together for one night and play the game together and have some fun...other than your "homer-love" for your team my question is: Do you even have a love for the game itself? I mean are you really a BASEBALL fan? Or are you just a [insert your home team's name here] fan.
For me - I would love to be there tonight. I would have loved to see Josh Hamilton hit 28 HR's in Round 1 last night. I would love to be at Fan Fest. My friend Chrissy (plug for a hotshot second baseman and the FT Headliners) sent me pics of the All-Star parade today from Manhattan...and I am totally 100% envious.
Tonight I will be watching maybe the last big game to ever be played at Yankee stadium...to see 7 Red Sox players and Tito Francona hanging out with Derek Jeter and A-Rod in the YANKEE dugout. I will look forward to seeing the 28 first timers who made it to the All-Star game: guys like Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley of the Rangers, Evan Longoria of the Rays, and Cliff Lee of the Indians. This game is no longer just the "best names in baseball" game...and I like the change.
I look forward to Buck and McCarver guiding me through as many memorable moments happening outside the base paths as happen inside.
So for those miserable souls who refuse to watch: best wishes to you with your crappy night. Hopefully a pint of Chunky Monkey will help you with your boredom.
However, if you get itchy to join the fun...maybe you will get cleaned up, throw on that baby-blue tux, and we'll see you on the dance floor.