Relay Races And Tug Of War Would Be Better Than All-Star Games
Why Bother with these All-Star Games anymore? We have a cross-sport solution
By George Kurtz
The NFL Pro Bowl and the NHL All-Star Game were “highlights” of the past weekend. Did anyone really care? Well, I guess some do. If not, the leagues wouldn’t put them on. If not, the television networks wouldn’t carry them, so they must be money makers but really, who cares?
The players don’t really care. I mean, quite a few seem to look for any reason possible not to attend. Listen, I get it. If I were a player and it was the middle of my season, I wouldn’t want to play in an exhibition game either. I’d rather spend the 4-5 days on a beach or with my family. Those few days off could get me as healthy as I can possibly be for the rest of the regular season. You know, the season that the player actually gets paid for. As a fan, isn’t that what you want? Sure, it’s nice to see your favorite player participate in the ASG but how would you feel if he were to get hurt and now that favorite team of yours is less likely to make the playoffs? You would be rather upset that this happened in an exhibition game.
The ASGs aren’t played at anywhere near the intensity of a regular season contest. We all know this. At the Pro Bowl there wasn’t any hard hits (Roger Goodell is thrilled). Same thing at the NHL All-Star game. Players barely bump each other. In the NHL and NBA games defense will be next to non-existent. It’s hard to tell a player in a game that means nothing that he should hustle back on defense. It’s just not going to happen. In MLB, the best pitchers in the game aren’t going to go more than two innings. If it’s so important to win these games, then shouldn’t a Clayton Kershaw go as deep into the game as possible?
Watch: The Easiest 79-yard INT return you will ever see
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Let’s face it, these really aren’t All-Star games anyway. As soon as you have fans voting, you know there will be players elected to the team that don’t deserve to be there. Also, the fact that most of these leagues have that rule where one player from each team must be selected automatically means it is not an All-Star game. I mean do you really think the Miami Marlins are going to have a player deserving of an All-Star nod this season? Of course, it’s possible, but that player was likely traded to the Yankees, Brewers, or Cardinals. It’s pretty simple, if a team doesn’t have a player worthy of being selected then that’s just too bad. Get better players. I’m not a big fan of every player having to play in the game also. I mean, if the idea is to win the game, then shouldn’t a Mike Trout be on the field in the late innings and not catching a flight home?
Let’s call the game what it is, entertainment. The players make money. The league makes money. The networks make money. The fans get to see some of the biggest names in the game play for or against each other. Everyone is happy. Well, except for someone like me who wants to see an actual competitive game, but even if it’s not, just don’t try to snow me and call it an All-Star game.
Okay, I’ve complained enough. How can we fix the game/s? Well, I’m not sure you can at this point. The players aren’t going to care about playing no matter what you do. There is just too much money to be made to risk health in meaningless game. At least MLB finally got rid of the game deciding who has home field advantage in the World Series. Why the league that wins interleague play doesn’t decide this is something I will never understand but that’s a complaint for another day. Since the game is played in-season, you’re not going to see NHL, MLB, or NBA players do anything that would jeopardize their health for the team that actually pays them to perform. In the NFL, these players are just now recovering from a long season. Some haven’t played in weeks and now we’re asking them to hit and get hit again in an exhibition game? Not to mention if they get hurt, it could very well change the course of their career. It’s silly to expect them to give their all for this game.
So, why not give the fans more of what they want. In MLB, the Home Run contest seems to be a big hit (sorry, couldn’t pass that up). The Slam Dunk contest is all I will watch from the NBA All-Star weekend. The Pro Bowl Skills competition needs work, but it will likely be a better watch than the actual game Sunday. I certainly enjoy the NHL Skills competition more than a 3-3 offensive fest also.
Let’s expand this. Remember back in the 70s and 80s when we would have a mix of athletes and celebrities competing in a SuperStars competition? Why not go with that concept? You can have a series of events that these players participate in. I’m talking events like tug of war, obstacle course, and relay races. At least that would be fun to watch and maybe the players would care more in a one on one competition than they do in these All-Star games. At the very least it would be different. Wouldn’t you want to see someone like Jose Altuve running a race versus Alvin Kamara? Wouldn’t it be great if the players had to perform in events other than ones that they are paid for? We could see Aaron Judge shooting free throws, Drew Brees on skates, Sidney Crosby in the batting cage, or LeBron James catching passes from a Jugs machine.
Yeah, probably won’t happen, but this is what goes through my mind when football season has come to an end it’s just a little to early to get excited about baseball. The month of February, that’s something else I can’t stand.
You can find me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
Where can you find All-Stars in esports? Start here.
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