The annual midsummer classic was held last night. I have always liked seeing the All-Star game. It has been appointment TV for years. Thankfully, however, I started that tradition before Joe Torre ruined the game. I wonder if it would be the same if I didn’t start watching until now.
Really, the whole idea of playing everyone has to go. I hear lots of complaints about why the game might be losing its appeal. One of the excuses that I heard yesterday was that interleague play is a big problem. In the old days, people would watch the game to see how an elite hitter from one league would fare against an elite pitcher from the other. With interleague play, I already saw how David Ortiz fared against Gio Gonzalez. That’s a valid point, to an extent. The match-up is not something new. But, I contend that it’s not the uniqueness of the match-up that makes the difference. It’s the quality of the players. Just because I saw Pedro Martinez face Manny Ramirez a dozen times doesn’t mean that it got boring. Adrian Gonzalez faces CC Sabathia every couple days, it seems. I still am riveted by those match-ups. So, I still want to see how David Ortiz would match up against Stephen Strasburg, even if it weren’t the first time. You want to know what I don’t need to see? How Billy Butler matches up against RA Dickey. Or how Melkey Cabrera does against anyone. That has no interest in me. I would gladly watch the starting line-up face the entire opposing pitching staff (except, I suppose, that guy starting at short for the AL).
The other complaint is that there isn’t the same intensity. It doesn’t mean anything to the players. Why would it? It clearly doesn’t mean anything to the leagues. If the leagues really wanted to win, Josh Hamilton would not have come out of the game. So, if the leagues think it’s just a chance for 60 guys to get their picture on TV, why would the players think any differently? Why the starters just can’t play nine innings is beyond me. If you want to get clever and pinch-run for David Ortiz in the ninth with Mike Trout, be my guest. That’s trying to win. Not trying to make Angels fans happy. And, really, how happy are we making them? I got to see David Ortiz take, what, two at-bats? I didn’t get a giddy feeling over that. So, why would MLB allow the product to be diluted just so White Sox fans can see Paul Konerko for five minutes? I’d rather have watched a great team for nine innings.