As everyone knows, this year's All-Star Game took place at Yankee Stadium in its final year. Quite understandably, there was some fanfare. Apart from the parade, there was a slightly extended opening ceremony honoring one of baseball's greatest landmarks.
Actually, that's a lie. I'd like that to be true, but it's not. There wasn't a "slightly extended" opening ceremony. There wasn't a little extra attention given to the venerable franchise.
There was a nauseating about of worship.
People seem to be forgetting something. The All-Star Game isn't about the Yankees or their stadium. It's about the rivalry between leagues and, more importantly, the best players in the game getting together and testing themselves.
The amount of attention given to the stadium and to the Yankee franchise was plain insulting. Joe Morgan called Yankee stadium the "best venue ever."
Sportscasters on ESPN's SportsCenter suggested that Francona, the manager of the AL All-Star team, put in Mariano Rivera for the first inning as treat to Yankee fans, and as a way for Francona to gain the fans' goodwill.
During FOX's broadcast, they made numerous references to great moments in Yankee stadium history, and Joe Buck asserted that George Steinbrenner should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A little bit of extra attention I could understand. I would agree with it. Yankee Stadium is a standing legend. But the All-Star game isn't about celebrating the ballpark it takes place in. It's about celebrating the skills of modern baseball players.
The hosting park's team isn't supposed to be given preferential treatment; the manager of the Boston Red Sox doesn't care about the goodwill of Yankee fans; Yankee Stadium isn't the "best venue ever;" the Hall of Fame is for players, Joe—you can't buy your way in.
What about the beautiful new stadium the Nationals just built in Washington? What about Shea Stadium, which is also in its last year? What about beloved Wrigley Field in Chicago? What about classic Fenway Park in Boston? The new Busch Stadium in St. Louis? The new Tigers Stadium in the Motor City?
All those new stadiums are crap, right? And the other old ones, they don't measure up, do they? Not only did FOX and ESPN favor the Yankees heavily in their spin, but MLB itself did as well, which is simply ridiculous.
The attitude taken by both the media and MLB was offensive to other franchises and ballparks all across baseball. The Yankees are the most successful franchise in baseball history, but that doesn't make them the most important.
This is just another All-Star Game. The Yankees are just another team. Yankee Stadium is just another ballpark.
A bit of extra emphasis would have been fine, but the sickening plethora of preferential treatment given to the Yankees—their players, their stadium, and their management—was unnecessary, obnoxious, and offensive.
All the fanfare overshadowed the game itself, which was a well-played, well-matched, high-tension affair. The game should have been the focus of the night.