All-star games have become the most overrated montage in the sporting world today. The idea of composing a team of the best players in their respected sports has no more appeal then a Sumo wrestler in a thong.
Being an all-star used to mean something. It was a symbol of excellence and achievement. It meant that you had arrived as a player and that you would get an extra card in next year’s Topps set.
Now, being an NFL Pro Bowler means that you have to play another game, and hockey All-stars get the thrill of playing on TV with a puck that lights up. Where has the honor gone? Players don’t sit in anticipation of being named an all-star; in fact many consider it a burden. For some, it is like going into work on their day off.
If I got paid millions of dollars I would probably gripe about the little things like pleasing my fans, or representing my hometown with pride as well. Fans have allowed athletes to completely destroy all-star events because the athletes feel as though they have no incentive to play hard.
The NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game will be played this weekend minus some of the best players in the land, who will be sitting at home with the mildest of injuries? Does anybody realize the chances of re-injuring ones self in a game where no one gets hit? The rules of these all-star games are so cushy that my grandma could garnish the MVP honors if she were to play.
Let’s not point the finger at everyone but ourselves, though. I blame those people who call themselves fans for ruining what once was a great tradition. Adding to the complete ridiculousness of the situation, fans vote in players who were good six years ago, don’t play, or just plain stink.
There should be requirements for voting for an all-star game, just as there are when you vote for anything else. First off, you should have to know every player on the ballot. What kind of choice is a fan making by simply punching out names of those players highlighted on SportsCenter?
Where did the players of the ’70s go? The ones who ran over catchers at home plate, and who played with grit and intensity during an all-star game. Why do I have to watch Grant Hill in a Sprite commercial and the All-Star Game when true fans realize that he is a better actor then basketball player?
This year’s NBA All-Star Game will feature Vince Carter because over 1 million fans think he is the best player at his position. The man has only played in 11 games all season. The fans voted for “Air Canada” without realizing that the plane has been grounded nearly all season. Carter used to be an MVP-type player, but those were the days when he actually played.
Growing up in my Milwaukee, last season’s Major League Baseball All-Star was supposed to be the most entertaining game that I have ever seen. When Tori Hunter snagged that home-run ball I’ll admit I was excited, and when I caught a ball off the bat of Paul Konerko during the home-run derby I was quite joyous. But like all good things these all-star moments had to come to an end. This time they came crashing down faster then the Hindenburg.
Bud Selig decided that the game should end in a tie. Fittingly it was, because there were no pitchers left — an irony that Bud should take a harder look at in the league that he commissions. To top this great moment in All-Star history off, the league failed to award an MVP. This game will live in infamy and is a perfect example of how little that participants in these events care about what happens. At this point I would rather watch a group of six-year-olds play tee-ball at Miller Park, because at least they would enjoy it.
When I was young I played in a few Little League all-star games and it was the biggest thrill of the entire season. When you’re not being paid the big bucks and your team can’t manage a win, the all-star game becomes your personal salvation. During these years I watched without fail my favorite players in every all-star event because for a moment I had something in common with them. Now I realize that the only thing I have in common with them is that I don’t care about all-star games.
This article was published Jan 31, 2003 at 12:00 am, and last updated Jan 31, 2003 at 12:00 am.