|All Star Game has Changed|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on July 14, 2009
Ok, really, how many of you are planning on watching the All-Star Game?Â My guess is not that many.Â Oh you may flip to it if there is nothing else on, you may watch an inning or two but how many of you will sit down to watch the entire game?Â I conducted my own rather informal poll about this by asking a dozen or so serious fans I know about their plans for the All-Star Game.
But not everyone felt that way.Â Especially the older fans.Â For them the All Star Game had some nostalgic meaning.Â That's because as recently as a couple of decades ago the game wasn't as national as it is today.Â Â The All-Star Game was their only chance to see the stars who didn't regularly come through to play their home town nine.Â Yet today -- aside from showing it off to their kids -- they didn't feel it was all that relevant.
Actually kids were one of the common threads as far as reasons listed to watch the All-Star Game.Â Perhaps that's the best reason for the Mid Summer Classic.Â At least perhaps it was to all of us at one time.Â The All-Star Game was the stuff of dreams back in our youth.Â It was the chance to watch those "dream" teams we always fantasized about back in the days when our schoolyard conversations included comments like "wouldn't it be cool if Pete Rose got to play with Bobby Bonds and..."
But while the kids were perhaps the most common thread as to the best reasons to watch the game, parents had a lot to complain about too.Â Especially as to the time the game was played -- starting so late that all the children would be abed long before the game ended.
The All-Star Game is no longer just a game however.Â The fans were pretty much unanimous in agreeing that the best part of the break was not the game itself but the Home Run Derby.Â It's not hard to understand why -- home runs are the glory statistic in all of baseball.Â They are easy to see, easy to judge (usually) and best of all, the derby doesn't take more than two hours to watch from start to finish.Â Even people who didn't enjoy baseball said it was fun and exciting -- especially if they had actually gone to see one themselves.
And actually that was the group, people who had been to an All-Star Game break, who seemed to be the biggest fans of the Mid Summer Classic.Â "It's an experience."Â "You have to go to one!"Â And "It's something special," were among the comments about attending.
So while those fans lucky enough to be going in the next few days might be in for something special, those of us sitting at home seem far more likely to give the game a cursory glance and move on.
Maybe this is an idea whose time has passed.Â Maybe instead of trying to promote a game few people will watch* MLB should focus on moving to the second half and letting us all watch baseball that has relevance to the fans, to the pennant races and to the spirit of great baseball.
*That's borne out by the television numbers as the All Star game when from its high of a 54% market share, down to a mere 14% in 2005.
After all, the All-Stars from every team are no more than a click away by the television today.