Once again the baseball All-Star game has come and gone. Did anyone notice the American League’s 3-0 victory last night? My enthusiasm for the ‘Mid-Summer Classic’ has waned precipitously in recent years. I can pinpoint my exact moment of disinterest – when commissioner Bud Selig decided to have the game actually mean something. After an embarrassing tie in an All-Star game in his Milwaukee hometown, Selig over-reacted. It wouldn’t be the last time.
Selig’s solution was to anoint the winning league in the All-Star game with home-field advantage in the World Series. Not an insignificant reward in a six or seven-game World Series.
Has this made the All-Star game more meaningful? No. Has fan interest increased? No. Have television ratings increased? No. What was wrong with just watching the best players on the planet share a diamond for one night?
It used to be, of course, that seeing the National League versus the American League actually meant something because they never faced off except for the All-Star game and the World Series. Now though, there are inter-league games every day of the baseball season, made necessary by 15 teams in each circuit.
I have a suggestion for a format change – have the defending World Series champs play a team of All-Stars from both leagues. This year it would be the San Francisco Giants vs. the All-Stars. The football season used to kick off with the defending NFL champs vs. the college all-stars. The game was eventually shelved because of injury concerns to the collegians but the concept was and is very intriguing.
It might also help if baseball took its head out of its xxx and promoted the players everyone is talking about. Yasiel Puig has lit up the game in his 45 days of major league experience, hitting .391. His merchandise is flying out of stores in the nation’s second-largest market. Yet he was unable to find his way onto the National League’s all-star roster. Yes, I know he was outvoted but certainly some accommodation could have been made to have him in New York. If people actually become fans of the game because of Puig, great. Baseball needs all it can get and it certainly didn’t help its PR image by denying Puig a place.