Over the last couple of days, two news pieces have overwhelmed me. They have blown up my facebook newsfeed, clogged up my twitter feed, and even my google page has seen numerous articles on both topics. Oddly though, these two topics have absolutely nothing to do with each other and quite honestly, both don't need to be top news stories.
I know that calling one of them "un-newsworthy" might get me in trouble, and since it's not a sports related topic, I'll only spend a couple of sentences on it. The Casey Anthony trial took center stage and was a human tragedy story, but unfortunately it's not the first time and not the last time these horror stories will appear. While I will never understand how one can take another life, it happens every day and we can't stop every killing. This is just another of those stories and at this point, we can only hope that if this woman is indeed guilty like many already think, that she will be riddled with guilt enough to never kill again.
Now, let's shift out of the serious zone. The other popular topic is the MLB All-Star game. As with any game of this nature, debate ensues as soon as rosters are released. There's always "undeserving" players on the roster, while plenty of deserving "snubs" are on the outside looking in. Passionate fans take to every medium imaginable to argue why their favorite players deserve the nod over someone else's favorites. As for me, I just sit back and enjoy the show.
No, not the All-Star game. I mean, I might catch it if I have nothing else to do, but my Tivo isn't exactly set for the game. The show I'm going to watch is that of boiling fan blood over the pickings for a meaningless game.
That's right, I said it. I know that baseball has taken steps to make the All-Star game "mean something", specifically by adding the stipulation of home field advantage in the World Series. Even with that incentive, the game itself is often boring and long winded. In fact, I can't name a sport that has an All-Star game worth watching.
To me, the All-Star game is a dated concept. Back in my father's day, it was a big deal. Because television coverage was fully regional, people would get to see great players that they otherwise had no chance to see. Nowadays, fans can see talents on the other side of the country through premium cable, ESPN games, tv coverage on their cell phones, youtube, and there might even be some mediums that I don't even know about yet. Suffice to say, New Yorkers don't just know that Tim Lincecum is "the freak", they have seen his freakiness in action.
So without the allure of seeing new players, what is the allure of the game? Seeing all the best players in one place? Hardly, considering many players voluntarily back out of the game with excuses ranging from injuries to wanting to spend time with family. Also, pitchers that go the Sunday before the game are ineligible to throw so even if a player of that nature were to get the "honor" of being selected to the team, they'd be sitting home anyway, so why even receive the honor?
I'm sure it's still somewhat of an honor to be chosen to the team, but I really don't think it means much to anyone outside of overzealous fans. To illustrate my point, I direct you to a fan last week who told me that Alex Gordon should be considered amongst the games elite arms. The problem with his argument.....he plays left field! It truly amazes me that even with the overexposure of baseball, every fanbase still has delusionary parts that believe everything about their team is greater than the rest of the world.
It is just delusion that leads to silly arguments regarding All-Star selections. When players actions prove that they themselves can barely bring themselves to care about the game, I start to wonder why fans get so passionate about their selection for them. Going back to my original point, more articles are written about All-Star snubs than about anything else in sports this week, and for what?
The bottom line is that the All-Star game is played for one reason. Unfortunately, I'm going to ruin the allusion for many fans, but that reason is not to honor players, it's not "for the fans", and it's not to play a meaningful game. The one reason the All-Star game exists is for baseball to make money. That is why every team has a representative on the team: it guarantees that every fanbase has someone to watch. And that home-field advantage thing, it was instituted at a time when ratings were at their lowest for the game and baseball wanted to give fans a false sense of meaning for the game so that the cash cow would start mooing again. It's all about the monnaaay, not about the fans!
With this understanding, maybe we can all stop diluding ourselves into thinking that being an All-Star means something. The coaches pick the reserves, sure, but do you think they do so without suggestion from baseball? Such belief would be on par with believing that the tooth fairy indeed is the one leaving dollars under your pillow (I'm sorry if I'm outdated, but it was a dollar when I was growing up!) Teams are picked based on drawing power, nothing more. Thus, whether or not it was at one time an honor to be selected to this game, it certainly isn't one now.
I implore everyone to cease their arguments about who got snubbed and who unfairly was selected. Such arguments are futile and without vision. So what if they didn't get picked? I'm sure said players are crying all the way to family vacations and some much needed r&r. They aren't worried about it, and we shouldn't worry about it either. Believe me, the hall of fame committee isn't going to look at non-all star years and ignore what players actually did in those years. They see it the way you should, a meaningless game where selection is meaningless. The sooner we all see it that way, the sooner we can avoid wasting our time arguing about it. Then maybe we can get back to arguing what matters, like how thick will Brian Wilson's beard get?