Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star game

Used to be that the All-Star game marked the halfway point of the Baseball season, however, now with the lopsided schedules and overseas games, it falls well into the second half of the season statistically. Take my favorite team, the California (err...sorry, Los Angeles) Angels [of Anaheim]: entering the break they have already played 95 games, which appears to be the average for MLB teams this season. Sorry, I know I wasn't a math major, but half of 162 is 81, not 97.

While that's not a big deal, instead of being a nifty exhibition games that's usually at least fun to watch, for the past several years the MLB All-Star game "means something", because the winning league gets home field advantage for the World Series. Yeah, that's a bunch of bull-shit. Instead of going by a meaningless game played sometime during the second half of the season, perhaps MLB should give home-field advantage to the team that actually, I dunno, had a better record going into the World Series?

As a kid, you love the All-Star game, it's the annual fun event where your "dream teams" duke it out for bragging rights. Well, that's how it appears to you when you're a child anyway. Unfortunately as you grow older the veil of childhood is lifted slowly but surely. You discover that your heroes are actually human beings with foibles and faults (just read Wax Heaven to see how one man's boyhood hero has repeatedly failed him as an adult). You also discover that professional sports are no longer "games" and sometimes they aren't much fun.

To-wit: Does the All-Star game even FEATURE the best players in the league at the time? And has it ever? Sure, some years the voters will get it right, but most of the time the fan-voting is nothing more than a thinly veiled popularity contest to see who's fans can stuff the ballots the most. A fan can now vote 25 times online, not to mention you can still vote with the silly punch out chads at stadiums. At least the fan-voting is supplemented with a media-vote, and the teams themselves select the pitchers, but still, it's a pretty silly method for choosing "All-Stars." I won't bother getting into the sheer number of travesties revolving selections, and I also won't comment on the stupidity of each and every team being represented on the field, I'll leave that for others to blog about, and I'm sure they will.

I'd also like to know whatever happened to "All-Star Cards"? In older card sets, in addition to their regular card, usually each All-Star got a special second card commemorating their All-Star selection. Most of the time these cards were not worth as much as their regular issue, which can work in your favor if you're fan of HOFers from the 50's and 60's who's regular issues you cannot afford. I kind of miss the All-Star cards, in the way that you miss your first girlfriend or your first car. These aren't the latest and greatest foil refractor autographed serial numbered issue, but they were often rather nice. In fact, Topps on a regular basis used to print up glossy inserts of the All-Star team for use in their rack-packs (and you could also order a complete set through the mail). I can't remember the last time I saw a real "All-Star" card.

Oh well, I'll still tune into the game, after all, there are no other sporting events tonight worth watching.

EDIT: I apologize for the title of this post - something's wacky with my browser.

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