By Connor Buestad
On Tuesday night, Barack Obama will take time out of his busy schedule to make a quick trip to Missouri. He is scheduled to kick off this year’s Mid-Summer Classic by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Of course, we all know the man can hold his own on the hardwood, it should be interesting to see what the Commander in Chief can do as a pitcher. (G.W. Bush used to be money in the clutch when it came to ceremonial first pitches. See post 9/11, Yankee Stadium)
The simple fact that President Obama will be on hand for the 2009 All-Star Game gives this event some instant credibility. Even so, I’m here to tell you why baseball still has the best All-Star Game in sports.
First, let’s take a look at some other sports leagues and see what their All-Star games have to offer its fans. We’ll start with hockey. When you think of why you enjoy watching hockey, two things likely come to mind: big hits and brutal fighting. Unfortunately, the NHL All-Star Game operates under two unwritten rules: no hitting and no fighting. Therefore, you can plainly see why very few people outside of Quebec bother to watch this game.
Now let’s take a look at the NFL. They call their All-Star Game the “Pro Bowl” and, well, it kinda sucks. Basically, the game is a contest of who can do a better job of not getting hurt. This contest is held in Hawaii each year and rarely musters up any interest among the common football fan.
Finally, we have the NBA All-Star Game. Now, I will give this game some credit, it is entertaining. But, somewhere between the 68th dunk and the 300th point scored I tend to lose interest. The Dunk Contest used to be a can’t miss event for me back in the day. By now though, there are very few dunks out there that Michael Jordan didn’t already perfect long ago.
This leaves us with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. I will say, it does have its faults. There are too many players on each team, the players don’t try hard enough, it sometimes ends in a tie and it inexplicably decides home field advantage for the World Series. That being said, it is still the best All-Star Game in professional sports. For one, the game is steeped in history and has provided so many great moments over the years. Pete Rose running over current A’s broadcaster Ray Fosse was a classic, so was when Cal Ripken Jr. went yard seemingly on command in his final All-Star Game.
Another thing I like about baseball’s All-Star Game, is that you won’t find any cheesy uniforms featured during the game. This is because Commissioner Bud Selig has somehow avoided the urge to sell out in hopes of selling more merchandise. Just like in the old days, when you turn on the tube you’ll see NL starting pitcher Tim Lincecum sporting his cream colored Giants uni from head to toe. No exceptions.
Finally, perhaps the best part of the All-Star Game happens the night before the game itself. This is when the Home Run Derby takes place. Somehow, this event never gets old, although it should have by now, right? I don’t care that Sammy Sosa was roided out of his gourd even time he participated in a Home Run Derby. Nor do I care that his bat was corked. It was still fun to watch dammit!
Chris Berman yelling “Back, Back, Back”, little kids swarming around the outfield shagging flies, middle aged men bringing their gloves to the stadium in hopes of catching a $6 dollar baseball…it’s all just good stuff.
Did I mention Tim Lincecum is starting for the National League? As a matter of fact, this has to be my best defense as to why baseball has the best All-Star Game around. How could you miss it?