The Major League All-star game lands in Cincinnati on July 14th with a couple of day of festivities. I guess I am sucker for this game. Since my days of collecting baseball cards starting in 1968, I have been hooked on baseball. All it took was a 5 cent pack of Topps baseball cards and small wafer-like piece of gum (that was harder than your young teeth should have endured) and I was obsessed with the All Stars. When the All Star game rolled around, I would lay out my cards to see how many of the All Stars I had in my collection.
I appreciate the fact that Major League baseball still tries to market this game as a big too do but I must say, I think they are trying may be, too hard. Now the game has play-off ramifications which was never the intent of the game. This is supposed to be a game for the fans to see their favorite stars, not a game that every managerial decision could have an effect on the World Series. I hope this ridiculous rule is abolished very soon and the winner of the game is rewarded with only lovely parting gifts.
I am not blind to the fact that baseball is dropping in viewership and MLB was trying to put some zing into the All Star contest. I also realize that less kids are watching and playing less baseball and I have my theories behind that. If you want to incentivize the game for players, don’t make it about the winner getting home field advantage in the World Series, make it something more personal for every player. I say let each player, represent a charity and their choice or their team’s choice. They have monies pledged and the team, the player and the league gains some goodwill and good publicity.
Oddly, one of my favorite parts of the game is not the game itself but the player introductions. This is part of the original fascination with the game and my card collection. When a representitive from your favorite team played in the game then you felt fulfilled as a fan, it didn’t matter who won the game.
Lastly, Major League big shots need to reconsider the voting process. On line voting is ruining the game by allowing internet savvy fans to load up on their teams players. Somehow the fan involvement is being taken over by computers. If you want the players and managers to vote their peers in then I couldn’t object. You could also go Old School (I used this dreaded term, but will promise never again) and only use stadium voting hard copy. I have a feeling that computers are not going away soon, so may be Google can step in find a solution to box stuffing.
Photo by AP Photo/John Minchillo