The All-Star Death of Baseball?

First things first, I love baseball. There are few other sports where one can sit back, relax, heckle the opposing team’s player if necessary, and watch without having to worry about doing the wave(I admit, I really dislike doing the wave). I attended a minor league game last month where the wave circuited constantly throughout the game. Recently, however, the wave is not the only poison to make its way into baseball.

In the past decade baseball has taken a nose dive and it continues to drive itself further into the ground. The 1998 McGwire-Sosa homerun duel breathed a short burst of fresh air into the beleaguered sport, but that bubble burst soon thereafter. Strikes, threats of strikes, high ticket prices, commercialization of ballparks, and now players attacking sausages have all contributed to the displacement of our national pastime.

This displacement reached the pinnacle when at last year’s All-Star game MLB commissioner Bud Selig called the game in the 11th inning because both teams didn’t want to tire out their players. Never mind the fans who had paid $100+ to see a game (remember, ties don’t happen in baseball).

Will tonight’s All-Star game be any different? It purports to be. The winner of the game will receive home field advantage in the World Series. As my father said, commenting on the new “incentive” offered to teams to play hard, “Yeah right! The American league players are all going to play hard so the Yankees can get home field advantage!”

I’ll probably watch at least some of tonight’s game. But still I doubt I’ll see anything like the All-Star game where Fernando Valenzuela struck out 7 of the 9 AL batters he faced. The days of the tough-as-nails athlete are dwindling. I suspect that there will be a lot of guy out there wanting merely to take care of themselves. Oh that guts would be brought back to the game…