All-Star Game Fiasco


Rick Burtzel (Creative Commons)

Baseball players and fans prepare for the All Star Game.

By Cole Morgan, Staff Writer

There was once a time when an All-Star game was a collection and exhibition of the greatest players playing their sport. Fans would flock from all around to watch these games and it would in turn, expand the popularity of the sport through their play.

Those days are over.

Recent years have seen the ultimate demise of a real all-star game in most major sports. Call me what you will, biased most likely, but the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is the only remaining rendition of a true all-star game.

Nowadays, the games are one giant marketing ploy to get more money to the leagues through jersey sales, lucrative TV deals, and these “amazing and fun-filled” All-Star Weekends. The leagues advertise months in advance to make sure the fans don’t forget about the “star-studded” games. Yeah, the game might have the best players of the league, but they don’t play the same way they would in a regular season game.

Recent years have seen the ultimate demise of a real all-star game in most major sports.

The National Hockey League played their all-star game last weekend. Hockey fans, being used to a highly defensive and physical game, were “blessed” with a 17-12 final score. 17  goals to 12 goals. Most hockey games won’t even see ten goals scored combined. There were no penalties in the game as all things that could render a penalty were forbidden in the game due to fear of injury. There were no crushing cross-checks or bone-shattering collisions; the closest thing one saw to that was a friendly bear hug on the boards. It was a display of offense that appeals to new fans of the game, and a bore for real hockey fans.

The National Basketball Association is cursed with the same problem. The winner has averaged around 150 points since 2007.  You have to go all the way back to 1966 to find a game in which a team didn’t score at least 100 points; and all the way to 1954 to when both teams scored less than 100 points, and that has only happened twice in 63 games. There is a complete and utter non-existence of defense in these games filled with alley-oops, windmill dunks, and crazy shots that a coach would normally bench a player for taking.

The National Football League faces the pandemic as well. The Pro Bowl has a glorified “Fantasy Draft”, in which team captains pick the players, there is no more league versus league (the NHL does the same exact thing). There are no mega-hits as no player wants to get hurt, there are no sacks as you can’t even touch the quarterback; the game has become a star-studded game of two hand touch. The NFL changes small parts of the game for “more challenging and entertaining  play”, but really just annoys the players. Many players back out of even playing in the game; so many quarterbacks backed out this year that the seventh reserve player for the spot played in the game.

And now to baseball, the Holy Grail of all the all-star games in the modern world. The only game in which the players don’t completely give up on. Granted, its nowhere near the intensity of a regular season game, and yes, you can see and feel all the over zealous marketing aspects. And yes, the All-Star Week is present during this time as the whole league shuts down. But the players themselves take this game seriously, it ensures home field advantage during the World Series;  you won’t see anyone playing half-heartedly on the field. The game isn’t a defensive-lacking, over-offensive game designed to draw in random or new fans; its a game designed to showcase the best talent in the game at the time.

This new generation of all-star games aren’t even all-star games anymore; they have become public relation ploys to broaden the spectrum of the viewership. In today’s world, it’s become money over quality; lucrative deals and sponsorships.

It needs to end. Or the all-star game needs to end.