I’m getting ready to watch the MLB all star game. I’ve been watching it for 30 years. I think it has lost the magic. However, I’m wondering how much of this is just due to technology? Many of the people who would play in the All Star game were names on a baseball card to me when I was growing up. Now, I can see every MLB game and listen to them in my car. Also, we have interleague play. I do support interleague play, but I think it did take something away from the All Star game. The tie also really hurt the integrity of the game in my opinion. I think I would have been ok with a tie if the game would have dragged on until a 20th inning or weather was threatening. Selig’s decision was just wrong, in my opinion.
So, what do other dopers think about this year’s MLB All Star game?
30 years ago the players were people you could look up to. There’s something about baseball that goes along with the “good guy” image, and when that element isn’t there any more, baseball dies. It’s the opposite with football. Football is a game that seems to thrive on the “bad guy” image. As popular culture trends more and more to the values of the lowest classes, football rises and baseball falls. That’s my Humble opinion, anyway.
I have not been paying enough attention to the All-Star game over the years to give a really informed opinion. But any or all of the points you brought up may well be valid. Also, it seems this year’s game had fewer “living legends” in it, and more players who potentially have the better part of their careers ahead of them, which could have mad it seem less special.
Pure myth. Baseball players have been regarded as drug-abusing, skirt-chasing, money-obsessed louts since the days of Honus Wagner. The notion that they were once regarded as pure, good guy heroes is utter nonsense. In his day, Ted Williams was regarded with exactly the same loathing - actually, maybe more - as Barry Bonds today. Joe DiMaggio was regularly torn apart in the New York press for his alleged greed. There’s always been the love-hate thing going on.
I’m inclined to think that the All-Star game is suffering from the media saturation of sports, as dalej42 alludes to.
It’s hard sometimes to believe it, but just fifteen years ago, most people could not watch any baseball except for their local team and one or two Games of the Week. To get the baseball highlights you usually had to watch your local stations at 11 PM or something, and then you might get video highlights from two or three games. There was no Internet, so if you wanted box scores and such you had to wait for the next day’s paper, and if you live in the East you wouldn’t even get scores for the West Coast night games. If you didn’t have cable you might see one game a week on whatever network was doing the Game of the Week.
In that context, it’s easy to understand why the All-Star Game was a big deal; it was your only chance to see a lot of the stars in the league other than the one your team played in, and when you’re just not seeing major league baseball more than once a week or so, it was a novelty.
Now, you can be saturated with baseball. I can see my local team play every day, plus I can see the Braves and the Cubs, plus one to three other games on a daily basis, and that’s on TV; for a small fee I can log into MLB.COM and see any game being played. Spectacular fielding plays and thunderous home runs are replayed over and over on a multitide of sports channels; I have just local cable service and I have three around-the-clock sports channels pumping baseball at me constantly, plus multiple cable news networks scrolling scores all the time. I can get virtually unlimited quantities of baseball news, box scores, statistics, updates and highlights on a dozen or more Web sites. I can have updates downloaded directly to my cell phone.
Twenty years ago, as an American League fan, it was cool to me to be able to watch an All-Star game to see NL greats like Sandberg, Schmidt, et al. Now I see 'em half a dozen times a day. I see baseball almost non-stop. There’s just not the same novelty anymore.
I am a huge baseball fan. As a kid I loved the All-Star Game. I liked all the different colors and seeing some odd player from a last place team be its representative.
Then I went to an All-Star game in person. In 1980.
It was really boring. After you get past the color, there isn’t much to it. The intensity of the competition isn’t there. The big deal in that game was wondering if Houston fans were going to get angry at Chuck Tanner for not getting Jose Cruz into the game.
Baseball’s appeal to me is the fact that its almost daily. You have something to be interested in every day. You have an ongoing story. The All-Star game and its 3-day break just sort of throws a bunch of cold water on me.
It’s hard to watch on TV now because FOX does its best to make it unwatcheable.
It’s still better than the hideous travesty known as the NFL Pro Bowl. The players don’t particularly want to be there because they’re afraid of being injured. The action is pathetically watered down because you just can’t possibly teach a collection of individuals who have just been tossed together for the occasion all of the complex schemes that your basic team will employ during the regular season; it’s watered down even further because there’s a no-blitzing rule. It’s a complete waste of time.
Yeah, and in baseball, you have to watch more than one or two games to tell who the great players are. It’s not unusual for a great hitter to have a game in which he doesn’t get a hit. A great fielder may not get any opportunities to make spectacular plays. In the All-Star game, like any other single game, you’re not necessarily going to get to see the players show why they’re a star.
In addition to the great points made about saturationcoverage and interleague play, I’d like to point out that 20-30 yeas ago, players tended to play for one or two teams their whole careers. So the All-Star game was a chance to see very different players in very different groupings.
As a Cards fan, I’m struck nowadays that some days it seems like 1/3rd of our opposing team played for us some time in the last 3 years. This turnover really is different from the old days.
I don’t think the turnover is an issue (back 20 years ago, I could find ex-Mets on the roster of every team in the majors, usually doing better than anyone on the Mets).
Saturation is an issue, certainly. It’s not a big deal to see some of these players, since they make the highlights often enough. It’s also harder to keep track of players. It’s much more common for there to be too many players that the casual fan has little knowledge of. One reason why Mike Piazza made the team this year is because he was a familiar name, but there were plenty of people on both teams, both starting and reserves, whose names had no resonances with the fans. (Something like this was talked about in the early 60s, when one column made the point that you didn’t need a scorecard for an All-Star Game, since then names were so recognizable. The joke was that they had no idea who Rich Rollins was – one of the few unrecognizable names starting).
Also, expansion has hurt, mostly because it’s harder to see players from other teams. Even an avid fan who watches a team’s home games doesn’t have a chance to watch everyone (even in their own league). By the time of the All Star Game, many teams in the same league may have only played each other three times, hardly enough to get an idea. Fans tended to root for the league their favorite team was in, but nowadays you don’t get a good idea of who in the league is worth rooting for. The names blur.
Interleague play has hurt by reducing the number of games you play in your own leagues (in addition to making the interleague matchups in the All-Star game more routine). I’d prefer they put an end to it: many matchups are just plain uninteresting and it gives some teams a very unbalanced schedule.
I think its been a farce for years. Frankly I have never villified a player who doesn’t want to show up if he is selected. You go out and play bush league ball and for what? So they owners can throw a few more bucks in their pocket.
The original All Star Game was a charity event for a players widow. Now its some Vegas show (albeit with sweaty abllplayers instead of topless women.)
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a baseball fan and I watch the Indians and Reds whenever they are on the tube. But the All-Star Game has no interest. I can’t even be bothered to vote for the players.
The All-Star Game itself is poorly played because of the rule that every team has to has a representative and because the team manager wants to get every player into the game. Three pitching changes in an inning washes a lot of the interest right out of the viewership, especially when the change is just so Tampa Bay’s closer can get a chance to pitch to an OF from Pittsburgh. Big whoop.
The all star break is necessary though. The season is very long and ballplayers like other human beings need a break now and then. I say require the starting position players to play 5 innings, limit rosters to 25, and require each pitcher that gets in to pitch either an inning or to give up 5 runs, and prohibit Fox from broadcasting it.
This was always kinda silly, but hye, it’s an exhibition game, so who cares?
Now, with this “This time it counts” bullshit, the managers are expected to have home-field advantage of his league-mates on his shoulders, but he’s not allowed to do so with the best possible strategies? That’s absolutely ridiculous.
I hate to keep doing this, but I’m afraid, again, this just isn’t true. Players who spent their whole careers with one team were always the exception, not the rule.
Here are the American League All-Stars from 30 years ago, 1975:
Henry Aaron did spend most of his career with one team.
Vida Blue, 3 teams. (One of them was 2 separate stays)
Bobby Bonds, 8 teams.
Steve Busby, 1 team, though in a short career
Bert Campaneris, 4 teams
Rod Carew, 2 teams
Dave Chalk, 4 teams
Bucky Dent, 4 teams
Rollie Fingers, 3 teams
Bill Freehan, 1 team
Goose Gossage, 9 teams (one on 2 separate occasions)
Mike Hargrove, 3 teams
Toby Harrah, 3 teams, one 2 separate times
George Hendrick, 5 teams
Catfish Hunter, 2 teams
Reggie Jackson, 5 teams
Jim Kaat, 5 teams
Fred Lynn, 5 teams
Hal McRae, 2 teams
Thurman Munson, 1 team
Graig Nettles, 6 teams
Jorge Orta, 5 teams
Jim Palmer, 1 teams
Joe Rudi, 3 teams, 1 on two separate stints
Nolan Ryan, 4 teams
George Scott, 4 teams, one on 2 separate tours
Gene Tenace, 4 teams
Claudell Washington, 7 teams, one on 2 separate times
Carl Yaztrzemski, 1 team
As you can see, out of 29 players, only six were one-team players and only three more were 2-team players. Most of them, including many of the real mega-stars, moved around a bit, and in some cases quite a bit.
E-Diddy, the All-Star game was not started as a benefit for some player’s widow.
Rick, I know what you’re saying, but it seems unfair to refute the point by saying that the players on the 1975 AL team were each went on to be on a lot of different teams. At the time of the 1975 All Star game when those guys were on the all star team, those players hadn’t begun bouncing around yet. Even Bobby Bonds, was only on his 2nd team. Blue, Busby, Campy, Carew, Chalk, Dent, Fingers, Freehan, Gossage, Hargrove, Harrah, Catfish, Reggie, Lynn, Munson, Orta, Palmer, Rudi, Tenance, Washington and Yaz were all still with their original AL teams at the time of the 1975 All-Star game.
Oops, I goofed about one player on the 1975 AL All Star Team. Catfish Hunter was on his second team, the Yankees in 1975. He was the first high profile free agent, becoming one after Oakland owner Chalrlie Finley breached Hunter’s contract.
Okay, so let’s look at the 2005 American League All Star Team. Still with their original teams: Jason Varitek, Roy Halladay, Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Danys Baez, Mark Buerhle, Jon Garland, Johan Santana, Garrett Anderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Sweeney, Michael Young, and maybe Joe Nathan, I’m not sure, plus plenty of guys who only played a few games with one other team. Interestingly enough we don’t get to count Derek JEter this year because he didn’t make the team.
The NL squad included Bobby Abreu, Chad Cordero (I’m counting Montreal and Washington as one team) Brad Lidge, Dontrelle Willis, Roy Oswalt, John Smoltz, Jake Peavy, Albert Pujols, Luis Castillo, Jimmy Rollins, Morgan Ensberg, Jason Bay, Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones.
Granted, most of those are early in their careers. Same with the 1975 originals.
Whether you measure by the whole career or the point at which they’re at at the All-Star Game, it is wrong to say that there was ever a time when stars played for the same team thier whole careers. Playing for one team your whole career has always been the exception to the rule.
It’s crazy to suggest this has anything to do with All-Star Game fatigue. Switching teams does not make fans any less interested in a player.