The Midsummer Classic: National League vs. American League.
That used to mean something. The MLB All-Star Game has traditionally been the one All-Star contest that resembled its sports the most. While the game on the field could still be a quality a product, the players in the game – and the record number who will not participate – are becoming the bigger story. 84 All-Stars?! When did the respected MLB All-Star Game become the Pro Bowl? It seems pretty clear that Yankees Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia planned to no attend all along. Some players have excuses with injuries or pitching on Sunday, but it’s becoming more obvious that the All-Star Game means less and less to MLB veterans each season.
Free agency and national TV exposure has obviously eroded the “NL vs. AL rivalry” over the years. And players tend to be buddies with the opposition more than they were in the past. That being said, there is no reason the All-Star Game should not prosper. First of all, MLB needs to get the rosters back to actual baseball numbers (25) instead the current bloated (34). The game has become more of an exercise of “trying to play everyone” instead of winning. With the rosters back to normal, the fans would see more of the better players – the actual purpose for the game in the first place.
Homefield advantage has turned out to not be incentive enough to get many of baseball’s elite to the All-Star Game this season. Is there a way (money, make them declare A-S status early in the season, etc.) to make superstars attend? Not really. MLB can make an effort, but they will have to rely on fans and others in baseball to hold the stars accountable. However MLB can limit the game to the biggest stars that do attend, instead of handing out All-Star jerseys like they were batting practice baseballs.
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