As we approach the Major League Baseball All-Star game, a familiar feeling has rekindled itself within me, excitement. For us Milwaukee Brewers fans, this is a relatively foreign feeling of late. As I prepare to watch the game this week, a thought dawned on me. The MLB has the best all around All-Star game in sports.
This is not a statement simply due to the fact that it is the next All-Star game to occur. Rather this is a belief that developed as a result of facts surrounding the game.
The Game Means Something
Unlike the National Football League’s Pro Bowl, the MLB All-Star game means something. The NFL is actually considering cancelling the Pro Bowl altogether due to the fact that the players treat the game for what it is, meaningless.
If you look at the final score of an NBA All-Star game, you see the same effort from players on defense as you would in the Pro Bowl. Scores typically near the 150 mark for the game, closing in on double what a good defensive team would allow in a game that counted for something.
Major League Baseball has done it right. Making the game determine home field advantage in the World Series is a brilliant move. Players who feel their team will be playing in the World Series come October have a reason to give it their all.
Don’t believe me? The New York Mets actually are resting starting pitcher Matt Harvey so that he will be rested enough to start the All-Star game this week.
Some have suggested that the All-Star game should not determine the host of the World Series, preferring that Inter-league play “in its 17th season, but for the first time, with us on a daily basis throughout the season. With a larger, more balanced sample size, we could award home-field advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the Inter-league series.”
This would take away from the beauty of the game, which as it stands is the best collection of All-Stars in all of sports.
Watching the league’s best power hitters slug it out in the Home Run Derby is one of the most entertaining parts of the week. Far more exciting than anything the NFL and its Pro Bowl have to offer, the Home Run Derby is a staple of summertime.
Sure, the NBA has the Dunk Contest, but that just doesn’t have the same entertainment value. Players try too hard for style points. Maybe 20 years ago the Dunk Contest was great, but it was in its purest state back then. Blake Griffin needing to jump over a car in order to earn style points shows that advertisements are as important as the contest itself to the league.
The MLB doesn’t have players hit home runs over a giant truck or billboard, rather they still have little kids in the outfield trying to catch the fly balls that don’t quite make it out. Baseball’s All-Star game is still pure.
Balance Between Silly and Serious
The All-Star break is a light-hearted time for baseball fans everywhere. “Players and fans interact in a matter never seen during actual games while competing in random skills competitions that many enjoy” says Jake Bemis of the Northern Iowan.
Players converse and sign memorabilia much more regularly than during the rest of the season, giving fans an extra bang for the buck in comparison with other sporting events.
The MLB keeps the game from being a serious, boring contest by allowing the fans to vote in the players. Rosters could look a lot different if people who are making their living in baseball selected the rosters. However the league allows fans to vote for who they want to see take the field, a brilliant move that creates a viewing interest for even the most casual of fans.
As we prepare for the MLB’s All-Star break, remember to sit back and enjoy the moment that is the greatest meeting of superstars that sports have created.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express