Like it or not, the All-Star Game is fun

Originally posted on The Dugout Doctors

Baseball’s All-Star game, unlike those in the other major sports, actually counts.  Well, sorta.  It can end in a tie and there are enough pitching changes and offensive and defensive substitutions to make your head spin, but something is affected by the outcome of the game.

The winning team gets home field advantage in the World Series!  Woooooooo!!!!!  Because I’m sure that if there’s one saving grace for Matt Wieters (the lone Baltimore Oriole at the game), should his Baltimore Orioles not overcome their 18 game deficit in the American League East, it’s that someone from his own league gets to open the World Series at home.

So, in short, the game really can affect a World Series, though conventional baseball rules, customs, and strategy is totally thrown out the window.  The best players don’t necessarily start, pitchers will be inserted just because they’re supposed to be, and the game, arguably, is a farce.

But I love it, and you should, too.

Forget about the winner-gets-home field-advantage spin.  Nobody cares.  And although I’m admittedly a significantly bigger baseball fan than any other sport, MLB’s All-Star game is the only one I care about.  Here’s why.

1)   Derek Jeter is starting over Asdrubal Cabrera (err… was voted to start, anyway).  The reason anyone at all cares about this game is that the starting lineups are chosen by the fans.  Is Jeter the best choice?  No.  Cabrera is clearly putting together a better season and, based on performance alone, is a better choice to start.  But other than the baseball purists who oppose any sort of fun in professional sports, nobody cares about Cabrera.  Most casual fans outside of Cleveland probably don’t even know who he is.  Everyone knows Jeter.  Just like how everyone knew Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr., who both started more All-Star games than they deserved.  If the casual fan is supposed to tune in to the game, they’ve at least got to recognize the players they’re watching.

2)   Every team is represented.   Maybe this is just the sappy father side of me talking, but isn’t this nice?  “Look, kids, even if you work your entire life to play pro baseball but you end up getting stuck on the Royals, you still might make an All-Star game!!!”  Similar to my argument about the fan’s choices starting over more deserving candidates, the only hope of drawing the coveted casual audience in Kansas City is the chance to see Aaron Crow throw an inning against the National League’s best.

3)   What other sporting events are you going to watch?  None!! Ha!  Baseball wins, here, because you have no alternatives.  Enjoy Wednesday, too, when not one single major professional sporting event is taking place.  The All-Star game beats nothing, right?

So no, the All-Star game isn’t perfect.  Everyone is represented, but getting everyone in to the game is a bit tedious.   If you’re one of “those” who hate baseball because it’s slow, the All-Star game is far from a shining example of why you should care about the sport.

I suspect that a lot of the hate being directed at the event is that it’s a slap in the face to the purists out there who watch all 162 games as if they’re lives depended on it.  The statistics obsessed nerds, who know more about a player’s season than the player himself, are harshly reminded that the game is supposed to be fun.  It’s entertainment.  The players are laughing and smiling, with zero regard for their batting average on balls in play in All-Star games held in cities west of the Mississippi in odd years.  For one glorious night in July, stats don’t matter and the game of baseball is what it was created to be:  a game.

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2 Responses

  1. Good stuff. As a die hard baseball fan in Kansas City, my 8-year old daughter and I cheered when Aaron Crow was introduced last night. Then my daughter rewound it on the DVR and watched him get introduced a couple more times. And then she went off to get ready for bed because we both knew it was unlikely he would actually play.

    But next year should be awesome. While it remains to be seen whether the Royals will have more than one player (Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Joakin Soria maybe?), the game will be here, in our backyard, at our most favorite stadium in the world.

    And we can’t wait.

  2. Um…le Tour de France? Anyone?

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