* The MLB all-star game, like all all-star games, is inherently boring. Many people consider themselves fans of this or that big league sport, and yet are still hard pressed to invest that sport’s regular season games with enough importance to stay interested. All-star games can also never satisfy purist fans of any sport unless the players are motivated enough to play defense. Therefore attempts to make them interesting tend towards making the mid-season snooze-fest ‘meaningful.’ The fact that baseball’s attempt to do so through awarding home-field in the finals to the champion of the victorious league fails on multiple counts.
It is not necessarily even relevant why this is the case, but because it is so obvious, we will note that it is because most teams (and therefore players) are not serious championship competitors, and because it is too abstracted for the rest. Your team is four and a half games out of the wild card spot, and the pitcher throws you a high fastball with a man on second and none out in the sixth: do you try to hit on the ground to the right side, and slightly improve the probability that your team will win and give your team a microscopic chance at an advantage four months down the line; or do you just rip as hard as you can and whatever? If you have ever tried to watch an MLB all-star game then you know the answer is the latter, but the former would still be boring, for all the same reasons.
Anyway, it sucks and cannot improve. It cannot be meaningful. It cannot be exciting. Give the players a bigger bonus? Why should I care? They’re still not going to dive for the ball, and I still won’t even know which team I’m rooting for. The team with my home team’s players also has the Yankees and Red Sox players, who are more likely to play in the World Series, and who I will be cheering against, so realistically my rooting interest is that the hometown player either strikes out, or does not play at all. How’s that for sporting interest?
What would be better? None of the suggestions I’ve read. Obviously going outside would be, or going to bed early, or reading. How about an all-star still gets named for every team, and still gets their bonus around the average annual salary of a fan, and then that player goes to a little league diamond for six hours? Maybe a whole neighbourhood would show up to watch the local kids. You may have to have an entourage to control the crowd and shape the interaction so that games aren’t delayed for hours by hoards of autograph seekers, but staged public events are not exactly foreign to major league sports – they are exactly their line of business. I’d go to the park to see Jose. I’ll even go to the tin can we call a baseball stadium in the T. I won’t tune in a 9pm or whatever to see him play a few innings of a displaced spring training game. And in all likelihood, neither will you.