MLB All Star Makeover

Hmm, let’s not be boring.
Author’s Note: Originally published July 8, 2012. Part of “Importing the Archives”.

I have always been a wide open supporter of America’s pastime. It wasn’t until I reached the age of criticism that I realized the many flaws that keeps this sport on the backside of interesting and the cusp of curmudgeonly yard protector.

There is a chance to make baseball more fun, interesting and alongside the process, fair. But ,to be fair, baseball is the slowest of any sport to accept change and unfortunately for them it’s not just change, it’s progress. That’s a fair reason this country and sport are considered to be so in tow with one another. Hockey changes when needed and doesn’t wait for a conference to decide a seemingly innate detail. Football dominates the land in viewership and does whatever it wants. Basketball is stubborn too, but nowhere near MLB. NBA is at least forward thinking with social media and replay.

The All-Star game, this year in Kansas City, is a fun event and has the chance to be even better. It’s a chance to see all of our favorite players in one spot having a good time in the middle of a grinding 162-game season. The game is an exhibition of MLB’s best and most popular for the fans. It is an exhibition. Therefore it should stay an exhibition. I could care less which league wins (American League) and just want to see my guys make a play, crack a smile and get back to the rest of the season healthy. Since when was it okay to reward a league, no matter their representative, home-field advantage in their championship series possibly despite win/loss record? How much does anyone think that “This Time It Counts” means “This Time I’ll Watch”?  No fair weather television viewer cares about that game counting. None.

Next, take it off Tuesday night television. Make it weekend viewing. Build a weekend around the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game to build viewership and let that week end on Wednesday or Thursday. Give the teams and players a few days for travel, relaxation and roller coasters or whatever the host city has.

Home Run Derby. Kill it or add to it. Adjust the Derby night to a skills challenge with an abbreviated version of the home run contest with fewer rounds and/or outs. Skills to showcase? Let’s race from first to home, or how about pole to pole? What about a toss from the outfielder to a target behind the plate for accuracy? How about a subjective of best slide into home? Best home run trot? We don’t need a six hour event. Just a few.  A full scale derby already last twenty-seven hours. Scale it down, cut it in half then half again, and add some fun junk.

Let’s also get rid of this terrible trend of starting All-Star pitchers the Sunday before the All Star game so they don’t have to pitch in the Game. The season is more important so understand that. Ease that by releasing the game’s “necessity” to mean anything. What other sports does that?

Finally, let’s have fun. This sport and this particular game is all about the fans, the pageantry of the fan favorites and the kiddies. Let’s not lose sight of that.

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