Monday, July 8, 2019

What is the Purpose of the All-Star Game?

Because, with the game tomorrow night, I'm really starting to wonder if I have it all wrong.

I always thought it was a game played by teams made up from a collection of the best talent in each league, who would play one game to “determine” which league was better. It certainly seemed to be the way the league, and it's players, treated the game. Hall of Fame plaques would mention all-star appearances as evidence of their superior abilities.

At least until Joe Torre came along. 

Torre decided that the All-Star game was a showcase for his Yankees players. He selected them to the teams as a “reward for winning the World Series”. His words, not mine. He also made sure that those Yankees who weren't good enough to start got into the game as soon as they could. In 1999, he even pulled a stunt where he sent Nomar out to his position only to have Derek Jeter trot out onto the Fenway infield to relieve him. After the game, Torre admitted that was the only way he could think of to “get [his] guy into the game without getting booed.” So, it suddenly wasn't about showcasing talent. It was about stuffing Yankees down everyone's throat. That morphed into an “everyone plays” deal where the best players, the starters, were long gone by the fifth inning. 

That was the first change.

Because, even though Torre monkeyed with the bench and playing time, mostly the best players were making the team. Sure, there were plenty of popularity contests, as there are with any voting results. But, I at least always felt that MLB hoped for the best players to make the teams.

But I'm not sure of that anymore.

They seem to revel in the fact that it is turning 100% into a popularity contest. Ever since another Yankee won the vote for the final roster spot, and MLB admitted it was because of his social media presence. They celebrated that fact, when they should have hidden it. One time, fan voting was taken away because it was deemed too rely on ballot stuffing. Now MLB is encouraging it. So, when Xander Bogaerts wasn't originally selected to the team, people shouted that complaining Red Sox fans had no one to blame but themselves. They should have voted more. Forget the fact that it shouldn't matter. Forget the fact that the shortstop leading the league in just about every statistical category should be an automatic bid. No. It was because more impartial Cleveland fans voted than impartial Red Sox fans. Is that really the goal here?

Because, if it is...then what is the selection to the game for? It's no longer a stat of honor that belongs on a Hall of Fame plaques. It's no longer a collection of the greatest talent the league has to offer. It's a team made up of popular players whose fan bases spend the most time in front of a computer.

Is that what we’re celebrating? 

If that's what it is...why do we have them play a baseball game? Seems silly. They already break the game broadcasts up with pathetic in-game interviews, even with players actually on the field. Clearly they're not interested in even pretending it's a baseball game. The broadcasters have decided it's non-competitive fluff. So, why put on the sham? If we're not selecting teams based on baseball skill, shouldn't they compete in social media events? Selfie contests? Instagram post races?

Or maybe we could go back to the way the game was created. select the best players from each league, and have them play an actual baseball game.

What a concept.


  1. The fan vote is ridiculous, especially that 'last man' garbage. And I just mentioned Joe Torre's all-Yankee All-Star teams on a blog recently. What a joke that was.

    1. The really annoying part is that he didn't even try to hide it. Flat out admitted he was favoring his Yankees.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


What people are reading this week