Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For the fans

I used to watch the All-Star game.

I still remember back in the late 1980's when Dwight Evans made his last one. Late in a close game, Evans was in right with speedster Tim Raines on third. Evans charged hard on a sinking liner as Raines cheated up the line, waiting for his chance to break on the ball. The rock hit the ground about a step in front of Evans and Raines broke. Dewey played the ball cleanly and fired, as he did many a time from Fenway's eastern-most lawns, a heat seeking laser.

Raines stopped after two steps, and walked back to third, watching the throw.

He knew.

I remember actually being excited about the All-Star game. Watching people at or close to the top of their game. Sure, there was the occasional player who really didn't belong. But most of the time these were the guys.

Then, somewhere along the way the players stopped taking it seriously and baseball worried about their cash cow - a meaningless game intended to maximize viewership and minimize other real costs associated with the 162 game drag of a season. They wanted us to believe that it was about the fans, want us to still believe - that tickets to an event with no real impact and stars appearing for an inning or two at a time selling for hundreds of dollars is about us and not their bottom line. That a voting process that doesn't allow for the best shortstop this year to be starting, or a catcher batting under .220 is a good thing for the game.

It's not.

It's not a good thing for the game, and it's not about anything other than the corporation that is Major League Baseball finding another way to line their pockets.

I, for one, would be happy to see the MLB All-Star game go, as well as the NFL's Pro-Bowl. Just do the all-pro lists, keep the fan voting away from it and call it good. Just stop telling me that this annual ritual in money grubbing and the fans, as it is only the soft-minded fan that really believes this game is about him or her and not about lining the corporate pockets.

Before I sign off for the evening, I would like to note that I was going to touch on the Brett Favre cluster-fuck, but I think that no one out there has addressed this better than Paul Zimmerman at si.com.


David Sullivan said...

You missed a great game. Since they decide home field based on this game its become much more competitive. The pre game was a pitiful "bend over" to the Yankees.

Kevin Smith said...

I read that it went 15.

I just have a hard time getting into it anymore. Between the "event" they're trying to make it, and the fact that the fans don't vote based on who deserves to be there...there are just so many things about the game that bug the living shit out of me, I have a hard time enjoying it anymore. That, and the disingenuous line about the game being for the fans.

Suldog said...

I fell asleep during the 9th. I was in bed, listening on the radio.

It's lost some lustre - as has the World Series - with the advent of interleague play. It used to be that the only time you'd see some of the greats from the other league was during the All Star Game or the WS. Now, you can catch them all, at some time or another, during the regular season. Makes the AS and WS less compelling.