Baseball is celebrating their All Star Break right now, with the game’s first pitch mere moments away. This might not be the most popular opinion in the world, but I don’t think we need All Star Games anymore, in any sport.
We’ll start with hockey. I don’t know much about hockey but know about the controversy in the NHL this past season surrounding the All Star Game. For those that don’t know, hockey opened up the fan vote to anyone they wanted to nominate in the league. Fans took this as a chance to prove how little they respect games by voting in John Scott, a career enforcer that scored 11 points in eight seasons. Mysteriously, he was traded out of the league days before the All Star Game and originally the NHL decided that meant he couldn’t participate in an attempt for them to save face. After unrelenting backlash from hockey fans and those of us who don’t care about hockey but feel like if you set yourself up for shenanigans like this, you need to deal with the consequences, they gave up and allowed Scott to be in the All Star Game. He actually went on to be the MVP of that game so it kind of worked out.
In football the Pro Bowl is the NFL’s version of an All Star Game. It’s played the week in between the conference championships and the Superbowl. Due to the timing, the actual best players of that season won’t participate, as they’ll be gearing up for the Superbowl. Also so many players back out that by your 5th year in the league if you haven’t been selected to one Pro Bowl, you’re probably in your last year as an NFL player. Also, I can’t tell you who watches this. My friends and I are huge NFL fans, and we spend that weekend not watching football.
Basketball allows fans to vote players in, and fans again prove they shouldn’t have that right. Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Statistically speaking, he was awful last season, yet still an All Star. With the fact that they’re really good players and the power of the Bay Area, the Warriors will probably have AT LEAST 4 All Stars next season. Add on to this the fact that no defense gets played and the game is a joke. The skills competition at All Star Weekend is something involving actual skill but everything seems pretty predictable about All Star Weekend. The same team will win the shooting competition, a Warrior will win the 3 pt contest, Kevin Hart will annoy everyone during the Celebrity Game, and around 300 points will be scored in the actual game. It gives enough time for any NBA fan to just wish for the next regular season game.
Of the four major sports, the worst offender of a pointless All Star Game is Major League Baseball. Don’t let them fool you with their yearly tag line of “This Game Counts!” It counts because years ago two managers couldn’t manage their pitchers well and the game ended in a tie so they decided to make the All Star Game decide home field advantage. That’s about the dumbest rule ever. The most important series to determine a champion in the league is decided by a scrimmage game. That’s like you going down to the rec center for a game of pick up and having that outcome decide who gets to play in your league championship.
Secondly, not only are fans allowed to vote, but allowed to vote up to 25 times, meaning even if Matt Duffy is on the DL and was awful before he got hurt, I’m a Giants fan so can vote for him to make the All Star Team 25 times. Twenty. Five. Times. For one person. This backwards thinking has made it so that the Chicago Cubs are starting their entire infield tonight, despite the fact that Brandon Crawford and Corey Seager are much more deserving than Addison Russell.
If you’re going to let fans vote, the game can’t count for anything. Otherwise, let’s get rid of managers and put every decision all season to a fan vote.
In general All Star Games were made when TV wasn’t a thing or there was no such thing as national broadcasts. The games gave fans from across the country a chance to see the best players in the sport. Football is on every TV every Sunday and we can pick which games to watch so we can see anyone we want. Every NBA team plays in every arena at least once each season so we can see the stars in our favorite team’s stadium at least once. And now MLB has interleague play so it’s not an “us vs. them” to see who is the best in baseball anymore like it used to be.
All Star Games do not need to be played to showcase the best of the best when we see these stars everyday now.
Fans have proven they are either not smart enough to vote properly, or don’t care about “integrity” of the game, so they should not be allowed to vote. But if you must allow fans to vote, you can’t have the game mean anything. At all.
Yes, I will watch tonight. No, I don’t think we still need All Star Games.