Mt. Vernon Register-News

July 11, 2013

Hines Sight: All-star game losing its luster



Baseball's all-star game is fast approaching, but I just can't seem to muster much excitement.

The national showcase starts this with festivities. Monday marks the Home Run Derby, before Tuesday's grand game on the New York Mets home field.

My Chicago Cubs have the minimum one representative again this season, pitcher Travis Wood. The Cardinals, baseball's best team have a litany of players. Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran are starters.

Adam Wainwright will also be at the game for the Cardinals. He's had a glittering start to the season. His dozen wins are the most among National League pitchers this season. Reserves Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig will give Cardinals fans increased reasons to watch.

I'm not trying to be snarky and killing the joy of people who enjoy the all-star game, but it's been some time since the game held much meaning for me. I just can't seem to get excited about it.

I do think giving home field advantage to the winning league was an interesting move some years back. But even with that I'm a bit conflicted. I think as a sport you have to reward a team for being the best during a grueling six-month season.

People lashed out at the commissioner in 2002 when the midsummer classic ended with a tie. It didn't really bother me much. If anything, that showcase game stands out in my mind more than any other past matchup of the last decade.

It gave the game a memorable moment, something that made it stand out. You talked about it with your friends the following day. I'll never forget as the game stretched later and later the cut aways to commissioner Bud Selig increased. The game ended in the 11th. It was an awkward and clumsy finish, but far short of outrageous in my mind. It's an exhibition. Who cares who wins?

This weekend I took a glance up and down the rosters for the upcoming league matchup, scanning for the complimentary Cubs player. One of the rules of the game is that each team has a representative. Surely it's just another way to try to draw in every single market available to television.

To me it simply waters down the game. The all-star game should be just that – the best of the best. It's meant to showcase the best talent in the world's best league. A player shouldn't be on the team just because his club needs a representative. Yes I'm a Cubs fan, but they've had a bad season. I'm fine with no Cubs being on the team and loads of Cardinals representatives. That's not going to influence whether I tune in or not.

Houston and Miami could both lose 100 games this season. I feel like I follow pro baseball a decent amount. But my challenge to the reader is this. How many Astros and Marlins can you name? The total is few for me. Do they deserve to be recognized just to draw in a couple viewers from Miami and Houston?

My thought is this. Let's cut the roster in half. That makes it more of an exclusive and higher honor.

Odd are I'd tune in for that.


Paul Hines is the sports editor for the Register-News.