By Jamie Crawley
This year’s NBA All-Star game is in the books, but was it even worth watching? Are any all-star games worth watching anymore? Regardless of the sport, it seems all-star games have become a joke to fans and players alike. Realistically, I doubt these games will ever disappear altogether (although I would argue the NFL’s pro bowl may be close to becoming extinct). With that said, I stand firm in my belief that these games aren’t really worth audience’s time anymore.
As a kid growing up a sports fan, the idea of the all-star game was one that blew my mind. A game where you would see Brett Favre throwing to Terrell Owens, Allen Iverson throwing an alley-oop to Tracy Mcgrady, Jaromir Jagr assisting Jeremy Roenick on a goal and Randy Johnson in a duel with Derek Jeter at the plate excited even the most detached sports fans. The games brought athletes together in ways you couldn’t see during regular-season competition. The all-star game was a sports fan’s answer to “What if?” The game didn’t actually count for anything, but it provided noteworthy team-ups and fun moments many sports fans would always remember.
Fast forward to 2016.
I truly feel these games have become nothing more than a joke. Now I know many people would disagree, but let’s break this down. The NFL’s pro bowl is the worst out of all of them. With the NFL cracking down on player safety and concussions, it makes sense that the game is so watered down. It has gotten to the point that many players don’t even want to play in the game, thus allowing guys to play in the game who wouldn’t normally deserve a spot.
Secondly, there’s the NHL, where many of the same issues occur. The risk for injury is extremely high and guys don’t want to get hurt. The NHL also incorporated a three-on-three tournament into their all-star game. I’m not the biggest hockey fan, but I’m sure those who are ardent followers probably didn’t think this was a good idea because, again, the game becomes watered down.
Thirdly, there’s the NBA’s all-star game where 100% effort and defense all go by the wayside. Yeah, you still see highlight reel plays, but you see these same type of plays during the regular season when the teams are actually playing defense. A red carpet isn’t rolled out for these incredible feats like they are in the all-star game.
Last but not least the MLB all-star game is where the all-star game, functionally, is at its best.
Now I know people may disagree, but hear me out on this. While baseball may be the least exciting out of the four to most people, this is the one game where players actually care about winning. There’s two reasons for that: home-field advantage in the World Series is on the line, giving players an incentive for playing, and the risk of injury pales in comparison to the other leagues because the game isn’t as physical.
The MLB all-star game definitely has the advantage because the product you see on the field isn’t completely compromised. Yeah you have your silly moments like John Kruk’s at-bat against Randy Johnson, or Barry Bonds picking up Torii Hunter after Hunter robbed his home-run, but aesthetically, the game doesn’t change all that much like it does in the other leagues.
All in all, my belief in the pointlessness of these games is at an all-time high. Baseball is the one game I can tolerate. Unfortunately, with the revenue these games bring in, I guess we’ll continue to put up with these watered-down versions of our favorite sports.