Baseball Has the Best All-Star Game of Any Sport
Major League Baseball has its share of problems. Bud Selig is a hated commissioner, the sport has had performance enhancing drug issues and the sport is far from up to date with its under-usage of instant replay. There is one thing that the sport has gotten right though: its All-Star Game.
The MLB All-Star Game carries meaning. The winner between the American League and the National League teams earns their league home field advantage in the World Series. It’s a simple add-on to the All-Star game that gives the players some incentive to play hard and entices some interest from fans.
The NFL has taken some steps in improving their All-Star Game, the Pro Bowl, as they will now hold it the week before the Super Bowl as a part of the championship week festivities.
The NHL All-Star game holds little to no meaning as the games do not look like hockey games but rather a game of players trying not to get hurt.
The NBA has its drama in their competitions but still does not carry much meaning for participants.
By adding one simple stipulation, the MLB has added meaning to its All Star Game in their own way. It allows the league’s best to see a good reason to play hard and go out to win the game rather than joke around. There’s nothing wrong with having fun in the All-Star Game, but in professional sports the bottom line is winning.
Now, some might complain that because of this stipulation, the best team at the end of the year may not get home field advantage in the World Series. This is a legitimate argument, but in reality, the best teams probably have the most players on the All-Star teams so they likely have some control over their fate come October. We usually have an idea of who might make the playoffs come All-Star Break. There are the exceptions of teams that go on a roll or implode following the break but we know who to expect most of the time.
Major League Baseball has gotten it right in this regard. An All-Star game shouldn’t be a waste of everyone’s time but rather it should be a chance to see all the sport’s best play their best. They should put on the best show possible. The competitive spirit more likely shines at its brightest with an extra incentive involved.
Any athlete with the right mindset cares more about the best interests of his team rather than themselves and the All-Star game now allows that to happen. If you’re on a legitimate contender for the World Series and you’re an all-star, you’ll now want to perform better with this stipulation in place. Whether you’re in the American League or the National League, you’ll be looking to WIN the All-Star game and not just worry about looking pretty for the cameras. If you win the game, you give yourself and your team the possibility of holding home field advantage in the Fall Classic, even if you’re a wildcard team.
Now there’s your reason to watch the All-Star Game or at least show some interest in it. You’ll likely want to root for the league featuring you favorite team so that you team owns that possibility come October.
Even though an All-Star Game may be intended to be fun for everyone, it’s still a game involving professional athletes. The game should be played professionally and the format has allowed that to happen. It’s a nice touch to improve the experience for everybody.
This is one area where Major League Baseball has gotten it right.