In Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game, the American League downed the National League 2-1 in 10 innings behind Robinson Cano’s solo home run. I know, this is old news. But I don’t want to talk about the game. Instead, I want to talk about why I didn’t watch this game—or any other All-Star Game for that matter—for the last six years (other than the night before the man cub was born.)
I understand the purpose of the All-Star Game. It’s an opportunity to see the best players in the world together on one diamond. I get it, the idea behind the game—and any other All-Star Game—is great, but the execution of the idea doesn’t work.
A midseason exhibition game is a great place for general managers to get together to make deals or start making deals before the trade deadline, and players get a week off to relax and recover from the grueling first half of the season. But the game isn’t a great display of what these players are truly capable of.
The pitchers are overly dominant because they’re already the best in the game, then they’re rotated every inning or two to prevent overworking. Typically, most pitchers don’t use all their pitches until the second or third time through the batting order. When it comes to the All-Star Game, hitters have only one chance to figure out an approach to an elite pitcher and even the greatest hitters in the world will struggle in this situation. However, it’s probably not a bad idea to jump on that first pitch in this situation.
With the dominant pitching, the games aren’t competitive or always even entertaining. In Tuesday night’s game, AL starters combined to go 3 for 19 at the plate, while the NL starters went 5 for 18. The guys who were voted as the best players in the game combined to hit .216 with 10 strikeouts in the All-Star Game. The game becomes a showcase of pitching as offense is at a premium.
Then there’s the antics, which are great, I’m all about antics. Catcher Yadier Molina snapped a photo of designated hitter Nelson Cruz with umpire Joe West. That’s a great moment with three greats and it’s always fun to see personality from the players, but antics take away from what’s really happening, a gathering of the best players in the game.
I love the idea of the All-Star Game. It’s an exciting event, but I don’t watch it because it’s tough to pull off. It might be more exciting if the game was replaced by additional skills contests and a game of Slip ‘n’ Slide Whiffle Ball with the All-Stars.
Photo by Brigham Berthold