The Pro Bowl was played on January 31st and with that in mind, I ask of the four professional major team sports in North America, which one has the best all-star game?
Football and hockey all star games are jokes. They are so different from the regular games that they are almost not the same sport. They also suffer from the players not being on the same team and not being practiced in coordinating. This is particularly true in football I think. I believe it is more true of basketball than baseball. In baseball much of the game is one-on-one, i.e., pitcher vs batter.
The only one I have the remotest interest in is baseball, and that interest is pretty low. I don’t think I’ve watched a whole all star game from any of the other sports, even though I follow hockey and football (basketball I have almost no interest in.) None of them are must-see-TV for me.
ETA: Holy crap, I had no idea the Pro Bowl was today. Was this advertised anywhere? I’ve heard completely zero news about it. I knew about the NHL all-star game, though, controversies and all.
ETA2: Wait, Team Rice vs Team Irvin? It’s not AFC vs NFC anymore?
I watch the baseball all star game although I actively avoid the home run derby. I can recognize the sport being played as baseball. I don’t care one way or the other about World Series home field advantage nor can I understand why people get so worked up over the issue.
3 on 3 hockey and AHL players voted as starters? No thanks, I skipped the NHL all star game. The Pro Bowl is a joke and I also skipped that. My NBA interest has dropped considerably and the last time I saw part of the all star game, it seemed like it was more of an MTV hip hop show than a basketball game
The only one I watch is baseball. Reason is you can take 9 guys who never played together and they still play the same game and it looks and feels like a real baseball game. In football and hockey, they pretty much eliminate the physical nature of the defense and are limited in what they do both offensively and defensively because the players aren’t used to playing with each other. Ditto for basketball.
The answer is clearly baseball. Baseball is a team sport, especially over the course of the long season, but a single game has lots of one-on-one challenges that are well suited to exhibits of star players.
Agree baseball. Football’s pro bowl is obviously a joke; do NFL players even pretend to be injured anymore, or do they just say straight out that they don’t want to go? Hockey’s all-star game is something they do so they have an excuse for the skills competition (generally more interesting). NBA’s all-star game has become more messing-around warm-up than a real game.
Baseball’s all-star gam, while often just sort of messing-around, too, can at least occasionally have moments, like Pedro deciding to prove something and going on a rampage against the best hitters in the league (for a few innings).
NFL - let’s just avoid getting injured, okay?
NBA - clear out the side and dish it to Magic
NHL - who is that masked man?
…which leaves MLB which is basically a single-player sport played as a team anyways. (I think of baseball as a cross between bowling and cricket.)
I would’ve voted baseball except for that ridiculous tie game in 2002 that led to giving home field World Series advantage to the league that wins the ASG (like that has any impact on who should get home field advantage. Bah!)
Which leads to Green Elf’s arguments, all of which are true. So I voted for the NBA, which always has at least one flashy player (usually a couple) doing his thing.
It’s very hard to argue against baseball unless you just hate the sport.
The problem the other sports have is that the very idea of an all-star game was INVENTED by baseball, and every other sport copied it. The concept is specifically suited to baseball because baseball came up with it (and the reverse is also true; MLB came up with it in part because the idea is well suited to baseball as a sport.)
An all-star game is an especially terrible idea for football, where every game is potentially career-threatening and the best players on the two best teams can’t play. For similar reasons it’s not a great idea in hockey. It’s not as a bad idea in basketball but it’s still not great.
While the NHL’s weird little circus this year became an embarrassment over the John Scott debacle I do give the NHL a lot of credit for at least making an attempt, as they have done at times before, to adapt the All-Star game idea to the needs of hockey as a sport. Forgoing it entirely during the Olympics is a right move, and the 3-on-3 tournament and paying the winners a million bucks was a pretty interesting idea. The voting thing didn’t turn out well but you have to give credit where it’s due for them being willing to think outside the box and some up with something that isn’t just an imitation of the MLB All-Star Game. In truth, the NHL’s mid season attraction now is really the Winter Classic series.
Baseball’s is the only all star game that even remotely resembles a regular game. Pitcher vs. batter cannot be faked. Neither guy is going to take it easy on the other.
Fielders make a real effort as well, at least those with a rep for good defense. The MLB ASG still has prestige among players; apart from injuries, guys who are selected generally want to play, and guys that play want to look good.
That tie-game business was the fault of the managers. Assigning HFA works just fine. The ASG’s relationship to the World Series is tenuous, to be sure, but this system isn’t worse than the completely arbitrary rotation we saw before.
No option for None of the Above or All All-Star Games Are Terrible? I haven’t watched one in years… I’m not really much of an NBA or NHL fan, and the Pro-Bowl is particularly joke-ish, so I guess that leaves me with baseball.
In MLB, I was actually in favor of the rule change to give home field advantage to the team that represent’s the league that won the All-Star game. I hoped it would cause players and - in particular - managers to play the game as if they cared about the outcome. That failed. They still don’t care, and therefore the game still sucks. Oh well. Good idea, but time to move on. So let’s do away with that ridiculous rule.
I think the home-field advantage has improved the MLB all star game and players take it more seriously. Granted it’s a stupid way of determining who has the extra World Series game but the previous way of alternating each year was worse. But most baseball is pitcher vs hitter.
Probably the best is NASCAR's Sprint All-Star race. Don't ask me to explain the qualifying or five segments of 22 laps.
Even though I’m much more a fan of football than the other 3 sports, the NFL has the worst all-star game by far. Football just doesn’t lend itself well to that sort of game, since it is much more dependent on team cohesiveness and a complex playbook than the other sports. Further, because it is such a violent game and it’s meaningless, we’re just not going to see players going all out the way they would for a regular season or play-off game. I think getting rid of the NFC vs AFC actually makes it worse, because I might have players from my favorite team on both sides. At least there could have been some sort of conference loyalty, but I have even less interest these days. Hell, I’d say just have them play flag football and do all the drills and stop trying to pretend like anyone cares
Hockey suffers somewhat from the unwillingness to go all out and get hurt too, and the lack of cohesiveness hurts, so that’s also a poor game. But at least that game still somewhat resembles a real game, at least moreso than the Pro Bowl.
In theory, the NBA all-star game should be good, since there’s a lot less risk of injury, but lack of chemistry leads to players just hogging the ball and trying to make spectacular dunks and stuff. To a certain extent that’s interesting in a way that the NFL and NHL games aren’t, since you don’t have players deliberately attempting to make circus plays there.
Baseball wins hands down. There’s league loyalty, which seems to be a big deal among hardcore fans, seemingly largely over the DH difference. There’s also something, even if it’s not going to ultimately affect most of the players, on the line. And baseball is also the least affected by lack of team chemistry and cohesiveness. In fact, that’s one of the best things about baseball is how the players are much more independent leading to all of the math and statistics that hardcore fans are into. As a result, we actually see a field of good players able to largely play well and have a competitive game.
So, my ranking of all-star games: Baseball > Basketball > Hockey > Football
I agree, although the baseball all-star game is the only one I’m really familiar with. Even so, it’s less satisfying as a baseball game than an ordinary game played by a team one follows. But it kind of makes up for that by the pomp and spectacle, the Big Event status, the chance to see all the big names at once. Kind of like the difference between watching the Oscars and watching a movie.
Baseball is the only one of the big four where the game is one-on-one and you don’t need a lot of practice working as a team. It’s only the defense that might not be as good as a regular game, especially the double play, but the effect is minor and most defenders are used to working with new partners throughout a season.
The other sports fail because there’s not enough time to get used to playing together. Basketball comes closest, but you just can’t get enough practice at defense. Football is so complex that the players don’t have enough time to adjust to anything other than a fairly simple system.
Hockey is my favorite sport, and while this year’s NHL All Star Game was better than most have been in the past, the answer to this question is still baseball.
Man to man defense doesn’t require a lot of team coordination. The NBA all star game doesn’t feature much defense because the players don’t care about it. Not because they’re unfamiliar with each other. Considering the players mostly want to get in some fancy dunks, playing zone defense in an all star game would be weird.
It depends on what you mean by “best”.
The one closest to an actual game is baseball - and that’s intentional. Football can’t, as there’s no possible way to teach the players enough plays in a week to make it a legitimate game (plus there are some injury prevention rules; for example, field goals cannot be blocked - I remember one year where the last play of the game was a 65-yard field goal attempt that, IIRC, hit the crossbar, that was attempted only because they knew there wouldn’t be a rush). Basketball was actually promoted as “the world’s greatest street game” at one point. (Even the WNBA all-star game usually turns into a dunking contest at the end.) And even when the hockey game was played as a regular game, and didn’t have teammates on opposite teams (in which case they would be afraid to hit each other), it came across more of a spotlight showcase than an actual game.
The only problem with baseball is, you still have situations where some of the best players are kept out - especially pitchers, as it would wreck the managers’ rotations. As for “winner gets home field advantage in the World Series,” I am under the impression that more and more people think it should be based on interleague play records, so even that is not really a reason for everybody to consider the game seriously.
If “best” is “what fans enjoy the most,” I would say basketball - just because of the “showtime” aspect of the game.