The Times West Virginian

Pirates

July 16, 2013

It’s time to rethink All-Star game stakes

FAIRMONT — It’s one of the most iconic plays in sports.

Pete Rose — roaring down the third baseline, shoulder lowered, full head of steam — collided head-on with the catcher, dislodging the baseball and propelling the National League to a dramatic 12th-inning victory in the 1970 All-Star game.

The play has been engrained in baseball lore for ages. There was Rose epitomizing his nickname, Charlie Hustle, on one of baseball’s biggest stages.

Since that moment more than 40 years ago, the fire and passion of the All-Star game has burned out quickly. The event has become more of a spectacle than a sport, hitting a low point in 2002 when the game unceremoniously ended in an 11-inning tie, prompting the fans in Milwaukee to hurl beer bottles onto the field in disgust.

In an attempt to rekindle the old spirit of the All-Star game, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB Players Union agreed to have the 2003 All-Star game decide home-field advantage and rebranded the event with the tag line “This Time it Counts.”

The question is, should it?

There is no question that the level of play leaves something to be desired. Apathetic attitudes are prevalent in All-Star games across sports. NFL players routinely skip the Pro Bowl or play so half-heartedly that Commissioner Roger Goodell has considered canceling the “game.” Likewise, the NBA All-Star game promises to be a laugher with less defense than a WVU football game.

 

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