It wasn’t that long ago that I read the score of last night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game. But I’ve already forgotten it, so inconsequential the game is to this life-long, 110-proof, aged-in-the-barrel baseball fan. The summer classic has become the summer snooze-fest, and a bit of the off-season in July, featuring four straight days of no real baseball.
The All-Star Game makes even less sense than decaf or Unitarian missionaries. The point of it seems to be to try to assemble an in-house and TV audience for an exhibition in which the first and last goal of the reluctant participants is to not get injured during the inning or two they’re shuttled into a game, the final score of which no one gives a big rat’s rump about. (Avoiding injury of their overpriced clients is also the sole interest of players’ plush agents, who’ve grown fat and sleek on the sweat and talent of the land.) And anyone who would watch the home-run derby has waaaaay too much time on his hands and really needs to get out more.
These criticisms hold true, perhaps even truer, for the football and basketball All-Star snoozers. These games even more than baseball call for team play, for set plays where everyone knows what the guy next to him is going to do. Basketball’s “showcase” looks like a playground pick-up game. A very talented playground, but a pickup game nonetheless.
I’ve no objection to picking two All-Star teams. This gives fans a chance to pick their favorites, to participate in their sport, even if this participation sometimes appears ill-informed and/or based more on sentiment than performance. So go ahead. Pick the teams. Just don’t play the damn game.