This used to be one of my favorite nights of the year. Baseball's Midsummer's Night Classic. The All-Star Game.
It's not what it used to be. And that's too bad.
Baseball's All-Star Game is - or was - the one that still seemed to matter. And not because of this relatively new development where the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series. That's sort of silly. It matters because it's a true showcase of the game's best. Because, by design, baseball is a team sport of individual accomplishment and individual match-ups. It matters because - at least it seemed - the players cared. They were representing themselves, their teams (wearing their teams' regular uniforms, not a special All-Star jersey) and their leagues.
Football's all-star game - the Pro Bowl - has been irrelevant forever. Sure, a post-season trip to Hawaii is nice, but it always seemed like guys came up with all kinds of injury excuses to miss the game. And football is a game that involves hitting. Guys aren't going to risk an injury in a meaningless exhibition.
Hockey can involve physical play. But not in the NHL All-Star Game. Scores like 12-11? That's not hockey. And forget the NBA -- most of those guys barely play defense during the regular season.
There's was always been debate in baseball about who's been named to the team. The fans don't always pick the best players; the managers always snub someone deserving. This year, the pre-game talk has been has been about the 16 players who can't make it. And particularly about Derek Jeter who, days after collecting career hit 3,000 (and then some) is joining a few Yankee teammates and sitting this one out.
I'll still probably watch a few innings of the Sub-Star Game. But it's not what it used to be. And that's too bad.
Today's title: Hey now, you're an All-Star, get your game on...