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Thread: All Star games

  1. #1

    Default All Star games

    I just wanted to see how other DYes folks feel about All Star games.

    Me? I personally can't remember why All Star games even played any more.

    The NFL's All Pro game has got players from the eventual Super Bowl teams leaving their teams for an exhibition where they could conceivably get hurt one week prior to the biggest game of the year. And even when it was held in Hawaii after the season was over, I don't ever recall watching it or even who was in it. Neuter the game and its ferocity and it really isn't football any more. Can't we just have a skills competition here and be done with?

    MLB's All Star Game was close to what one might consider a true contest. They had the best hitters, best pitchers and some truly amazing talent playing on both benches... that is until they had they tied game and now this exhibition game's outcome actually has implications on what's played all season long. The fact that the game's winner gets home field advantage at the World Series is a total joke. If they just let it be a mid-season exhibition game again (tied games be damned) I think it'd be perfectly fine. We as fans know that the game is no more than a celebration of their skills- who cares if it's tied? And even after that fateful fame when it was tied, I don't recall the outrage to fix the game then, do you?

    NHL All Star games? I always feel for the goalies. As talented as they are, they have absolutely no defense in front of them. It's pretty much a friendly non-check game by some of the most talented players on the ice. I find the skills competition the day before this game much more compelling. The Olympic games that these guys play in is more of a true All Star game for them, but the fear here is that someone could seriously get hurt.

    The NBA All Star game is pretty much a mirror of the NHL game. It's a friendly pick up game. One could probably scour many an inner city gym and find a much more competitive game. Defense at these sort of games are pretty much non-existent and there are some amazingly talented folks whose specialty is to shut down the super stars; why they don't get a chance to shine a little bit at these events is a shame.

    Maybe I'm jaded or just want the athletes to play their game, demonstrate their amazing abilities, not have to worry about injury (anyone want to console Wisconsin's O’Brien Schofield at the Senior Bowl who probably lost out on millions due to his injury?), and have them affect their regular season goals.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?

  2. #2

    Default

    The NHL all star game was great back in the day when the all stars would play against the previous years Stanley Cup champ team. They even had fights in those games.

  3. #3

    Default

    I'm with you smogboy, the only all star game even remotely worth watching is the MLB all star game.
    The players come to compete and winning actually means something. Whether or not it should determine the home field for the WS is another matter, but I have always enjoyed watching that game, especially since the American League has been dominating lately. I remember growing up with the NL always winning, so it's nice to see it turn the other way.
    The skills competition in in the NHL is fun to watch. It seems like hockey lends itself more to these type of challenges. But the lack of defense turns the game into a goal-fest, which gets old fast. Come on, a lot of NHL players have sick skills so making it easier for them to score is not competition.
    The NBA all star game is now a joke since they gave up playing defense. It's become a dunk-fest with way too much showboating. Sorry, not interested.
    I've rarely watched the Pro-bowl even though I am a big NFL fan. The propensity to get hurt in a meaningless game takes away any level of competition that could make it interesting.
    All in all, because a baseball player making the all star team will play that game the same way he plays any other makes the difference to me.

  4. #4

    Default

    You'd think getting chosen by your peers or even by the fans would be an honor enough. Just come up with a trophy or something to signify that a certain player is one of the best in their position or sport- quit playing these meaningless games. Yes, I know there's money to be had in it and there's contractual bonuses if a player makes an All- Star game, but I'm also seeing more and more stars opting out of playing in them. Notice how Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell have actually had to mandate players to show up (or punish them and their team for refusing to play? There's just something wrong about a commissioner of any sport forcing a player to play.

    And especially with the games where contact is so critical (hockey, football and basketball), I can see why a player might not want to take the risk of injury. I've also noticed how the players that don't get chosen take their All-Star break as a time to heal up their wounds. Why should we subject the sport's best players to playing even more?

    And just on fan support- does anyone really follow any of these games?

    Hence this makes my argument for eliminating the All Star games as they're structured now. If the players themselves don't want to do it and we the fans don't give a darn... isn't that argument enough to ditch this event? Now I'm all for possibly coming up with another format- a skills competition, selected All-Stars taking on the previous year's champion, etc., but as of now- I see All-Star games being a total boor. Who cares is it's East versus West, National versus American, North America versus the World, NFC versus AFC or even Shirts versus Skins? It's not a compelling game to watch any more. Maybe at one point it was a novelty to see all of the best in one location play or see players of a conference your team didn't belong to- but with ESPN and access to so many sports channels now, a devotee can easily follow any player they wish.

  5. #5

    Default

    The issue is money and technology. In the old days, the All-Star games were an opportunity for the major sports leagues to highlight their best players in a 3 network TV era when not every game was televised and there was no such thing as Sportscenter. For some fans, an all-star game was your ONLY opportunity in a year to actually see a particular player perform. Today, with ever game being televised and a variety of nightly sports highlight shows, the luster of seeing a gathering of stars showcasing their talents in an exhibition seems unnecessary when any fan can see them play on any given night.

    Secondly, money for both the teams and the players changed the willingness to participate and the style of play in these games. For teams, merchandising is such a HUGE part of their revenue stream. Jersey sales for star players is big money as named jerseys sell for at least $80. If a star player goes down with a season ending injury, that puts a damper on merchandise sales related to that player. In addition, if losing that player threatens your post season chances, that hurts the teams opportunities to rake in the extra money from playoff ticket sales. To the team, an exhibition game isn't worth the loss of your "cash cow".

    For the player, it's almost even more of an acute situation. Careers don't last that long even in the best situations therefore, from a financial standpoint, it makes sense for a player to cash in on all of his opportunities. Bigger contracts, more endorsements, etc are waiting there for star players. However, every player is just one injury away from either ending their career or shortening the amount of time they can play at a "star" level. Once you stop playing at a star level, the money that comes with it goes away too (unless you are Magglio Ordonez).

    In the old days, players were willing to risk this because salaries were a LOT smaller and the bonus money from playing in an All-Star game represented a much higher percentage of their earnings. Players would not only relish the opportunity to play, but they would work hard to put on a show in front of a national audience that would help them get back to the All-Star game the next season. Today, with $100M+ contracts, the little bit of money one can make hardly seems worthwhile when compared to how much getting injured could cost you.

  6. #6

    Default

    Great point about the bonus money versus the long term implications money there, El Jimbo! Things most definitely have changed.

    Now just out of idle curiosity, would there be any clamor from a sports' constituency if one of the leagues suddenly abandoned their All-Star game? Would there be a clamoring or a call for the commissioner's head if they were to eliminate the game altogether?

    I know I would be saddened for a microscopic second because of sentimental reasons (the same ones El Jimbo mentioned) but seriously I wouldn't blink. Sure I remember as a kid watching MLB's All-Star game (I was even geeky enough to keep score a few years!) because it was the one chance prior to the World Series that I'd get to see the National Leaguers play, but now with inter-league play and my access to all things MLB, the novelty isn't there anymore.

    I really doubt if the fans of their respective sports would even make a big stink if their sport eliminated their All-Star game- but it's just a theory and I doubt if things will change anytime soon or at least until a major face of the sport got seriously injured at one of these events.

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