When the American and National League All-Stars take the field at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. July 17, most will be looking for spectacular individual performances by the best players in Major League Baseball.
It's doubtful that the large majority of fans in attendance and watching on Fox will care much about the outcome of the 89th All-Star Game. Most pitchers will show off their skills for no more than an inning, and top starters may compete for four or five innings before giving way to backups.
The old feelings of pride that used to be so apparent in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, when the National League took charge in the series and were led by Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson and Pete Rose have faded into the history books.
The American League went through years of humiliation in the series that didn't begin to turn around until 1983, when Fred Lynn of the California Angels hit a grand slam off Atlee Hammaker of the San Francisco Giants and the American League earned a 13-3 decision at Chicago's Comiskey Park.
It took a few years, but the American League wrested the momentum away and has dominated the series for more than 30 years.
After the American League won last year's game 2-1 in 10 innings at Marlins Park on a home run by Robinson Cano, the junior circuit tied the series at 45-45-2. If they win this year's game, the AL will have the lead in the series for the first time since 1963.
Fans have made their choices for starters in this year's game, and MLB will announce those players Sunday.
Here's how the voting looked prior to the final announcements:
The latest announcement from MLB on Monday revealed that superstars Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees were all in line to become starters for the American League.
Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and Bryce Harper were on target for a starting position in the National League.
Harper seemed like he would be the headline player for this year's game in D.C. because he is the Nationals' highest-profile player. However, Harper has struggled this season with a slash line of .213/.363/.473, 21 home runs and 50 RBI. He has struck out 90 times after striking out 99 times in 111 games last season.
With just hours to go in the voting, MLB revealed that there are close races in both leagues.
The closest race in the American League is at shortstop, where Machado leads Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros by approximately 123,000 votes. Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox leads Yuli Gurriel of the Astros at first base by about 213,000 votes.
The National League has two close races at second base and catcher. Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves leads Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs and Scooter Gennett of the Cincinnati Reds, while Willson Contreras of the Cubs leads Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants by a mere 8,000 votes.
The great names who played in this game decades ago competed in the All-Star Game as if it was the most important game of the summer. Ted Williams once said the three-run home run he hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the 1941 All-Star Game in Detroit was the biggest hit of his remarkable career.
Rose's famous collision with Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game that gave the National League a 5-4, 12-inning victory at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati may be the most explosive highlight in the history of the game, although Reggie Jackson's mammoth home run the following year at Tiger Stadium was also quite remarkable.
The All-Star Game may no longer carry the luster or the anticipation it once did, but the best players in the game will have yet another opportunity to make midsummer memories.