All-Star games have really declined across all professional sports as players salaries rose and the importance of the mid-season (post season in the NFL) meetings of the games best players lost their grit and turned more glam. It has caused many sports to question the value placed upon the game. In the NFL, Commissioner Goodell has gone as far to say that the game may as well be cancelled if it is no longer a competition. The NBA just keeps adding other competitions to bolster the profile of “All-Star Weekend” and the game is really about 4th on the list of things to watch that weekend. Yet, neither of these leagues have made the actual game matter like the MLB.
In 2002, the MLB All-Star game ended in a tie. Unlike the other time, 1961, this wasn’t rain related. Due to the standard “everyone plays” mentality both teams ran out of players. The game, over the years, had seen a decline in competition due to many factors from Free Agency to generational mentalities.
In order to “force” competition for the game to remain relevant, not just for fans, but for the stars who considered bowing out, the Commish Bud Selig enacted what has been dubbed, “The Greeny Rule” after the ESPN personality Mike Greenberg. The winner now decides home field advantage in the World Series.
Since it’s inception, the American League won the first 7 exhibitions and the National League the last 2. The importance of home field advantage is more important than some may realize. The All-Star game winner has gone 6-3 (AL 4-3, NL 2-0) in the series that matter since 2003. Going further back the stat is even more telling, as the team with this advantage has actually has gone 21-5 in the last 26 series! I liked that the league recognized the importance of keeping the All-Star game relevant but I am pretty sure an exhibition shouldn’t weigh so heavily in helping to decide a champion of a 162 game regular season.
Baseball’s attendance has continued to rise, up 6% this year, but the league has lost it’s “National Pastime” label as the NFL has surpassed it in the national spotlight. The game has to make some changes that make sense and to grab the attention of the American public. Even the once dominant sport in Fantasy games is easily out staged by the NFL’s version. There are several ideas from shortening the regular season (agreed), selecting a world series city (disagreed), but the league could start with the Mid Summer Classic. The answer is certainly not easy but something has to be done.
Category: Pro Sports