Thoughts on the 2011 Major League Baseball All Star Game

I’ve never heard so much complaining in my life about something that should be fun and about something that should be a break from the traditional stresses of following a sport.

I’ve never heard so many calls to change or ratify the All-Star Game.

Honestly, leave it the Hell alone and if you don’t like it; don’t watch it. If you feel it’s a silly exhibition game, you’re not a true fan anyways. If you are a player who doesn’t want to attend, good. We don’t want to watch you waste at-bats in a game that definitely has something riding on it. For every player who opted out for this reason or that, there’s a Jay Bruce who is really genuinely excited to get in the game tonight and make something happen.

And for all of the fans and media types who will try and play it off like this game means nothing; there’s a ton of players who will lace it up tonight and play hard to do their thing against the best in the world. They’ll try and return to their city with the All Star Game MVP trophy like it’s a prized scalp to show off to other members of their tribe. Don’t think that these guys don’t want to be the best player on display tonight–because they definitely do. They’ve reached a place that around 90% of guys in this league will never even have a chance at. They’re going to play hard and they’re going to try to do something big.

Look at the names of the guys who have won the All Star Game MVP in the last two decades. Taking something like that home is pretty synonymous with greatness in baseball. Especially from about 1989 to 2001. Wow.

If you’re a fan of baseball–the kind of fan that MLB should aim to appeal to and keep–then you’ll tune in tonight.

You’ll tune in to see the National League try and start a streak of their own. You’ll watch because of all of the midsummer’s tradition and memories this game means to you.

My first All-Star game was 1992. I watched in our living room as Ken Griffey Jr. stole the show just like Ken Griffey Jr. was supposed to. Back in those days, you heard about Ken Griffey Jr. but you didn’t see him play on television where I lived. Except for that night or randomly on FOX Saturday Baseball once or twice a year. Just look at some of the names in that box score. Legends of this game.

The guys who say the players don’t try in this game obviously didn’t grow up or have a memory long enough to remember that July 12th night back in 1994 at Three Rivers Stadium. I remember it. Tony Gwynn was heroic. And that would be the last time the National League would win until last year.

It’s a crazy notion to think that people out there want something changed about this great tradition that is the All Star Game. But I can tell you that if they do, they’re not the grass roots fans of the game of baseball. They’re definitely not the type that understand history and that this was the very same game in which Bobby Clemente took his spot in the same outfield as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

You must not sit and realize that you’re seeing a gathering of future legends and Hall of Famers all in one spot tonight. The same people who don’t care about this game and call it an exhibition game will never care about it. It’s the same game that our fathers and grandfathers and uncles grew up watching in the dead heat of the July all those summers ago. It’s just as great as it always was. I’ll be tuned in, and I’ll be hoping that Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Scott Rolen or Bruce bring that prized scalp back to the Queen City and the NL is victorious.

It’s a lot of fun to watch, and it’s the best All-Star Game in the business. Better than the NFL, NHL, or NBA could ever assemble.