Ironic shortage of All-Stars in MLB All-Star Game

Chris Pope
July 23, 2010

When is an All-Star Game actually going to be all-star?

This year’s MLB All-Star Game was for all intents and purposes a great ball game, not only to watch but to play in. All the players stuck around until the end of the game instead of leaving faster than Monica Lewinski when Hillary walked in.

The game stuck to the theme that is the 2010 MLB season; that it’s the Year of the Pitcher. The American League’s lone run in the fifth and then a three-run double in the seventh by the National League’s eventual MVP Brian McCann was basically all the offence.

The American League’s inability to manufacture a run in the last four innings could be attributed to the National League’s All-Star pitchers but more so to the fact that their batters weren’t exactly All-Stars at all.

The sad part is, the MLB All-Star Game is easily the best of the four major sports. In the NBA, teams don’t bother playing defence whatsoever, and looking more like Will Smith shooting some b-ball outside of the school. The only thing worse than the game itself is the Slam Dunk Contest that none of the best players in the league can play in because of the experience restriction. The whole “Superman vs. Kryptonite” storyline has turned more into an episode of Lois and Clark than quality entertainment; all they need is Lex Luthor.

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In the NHL, there’s even less defence and instead of a Slam Dunk Contest, we have perhaps the best player in the league skating in on a breakaway with two sticks, wearing a straw hat with sparklers. Sounds more like a Tennessee New Year’s Eve party than a showcase of the league’s top talent. But hey, if that’s what Gary Bettman wants, then the move of the Coyotes to Las Vegas will definitely work.

Then there’s the Pro Bowl, with seemingly more cons than pros, except for the fact that before last year it was done when the season was over and people had already forgotten about the NFL. Now, players who are in the Super Bowl can’t play because it’s before the championship game and has less meaning than a one-night stand.

In the MLB, NBA and NFL, the fans have the right to vote in their all-stars, but in baseball, they only end up playing two or three innings before being substituted for someone else. How is this fair to the fans who expect to see the top players play in an all-star game, yet some of the players coming off the bench are far from stars in the league. (See: Buck, John)

This year, we even watched as perhaps the greatest player of our generation, Alex Rodriguez (with all due respect to Ken Griffey Jr.), remained on the bench.

It seems that baseball is the only one that may be fixable. Why not cut down the amount of players voted in? Do we really need 34 players on each roster? No, because it waters down the product. That’s almost one-tenth of MLB’s combined 25-man rosters being voted into an All-Star Game. Let the fans vote in their starting nine fielders and an additional three position players. Find a similar way to limit the amount of pitchers in the game as well.

This way throughout the entire nine innings, it would be an all-star pitcher against an all-star hitter instead of the latter turning into a player that doesn’t deserve to be there.

Maybe then an All-Star Game might be considered more than an episode of Lois and Clark, New Years in Tennessee or a forgettable night of fun with no lasting substance.

Unless it ends in a tie of course.

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The Author:

Chris Pope