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Began In '96

The MLB All-Star Game still matters (for now)

By Adam Cancryn

A broken hand suffered Brett Gardner style has sidelined Began in ‘96 for a few weeks, meaning there will be no All-Star Game live blog tonight. We’re sorry. Complaints can be addressed to Began in ‘96, c/o Bud Selig. 

In its place, take a moment to read last year’s piece, reprinted below, on why the All-Star Game (still) matters:

Well, here we are again. We’ve reached the All-Star Game, that historic annual celebration of… what again, exactly? The league’s best players? No, that hasn’t been the case for a while. The highest-quality competition in the world? Nobody’s willing to go full speed unless they do it while swaddled in bubble wrap. Those fantasy match-ups that previously only existed in our imagination? Nope. Thanks to interleague play and satellite TV, we can get our fill of those pretty much every day of the week.

So what is this All-Star Game still around for anyway? At this point, it’s main purpose for most of us is as a midseason marker, a brief pause in a plodding season when we look up and say, “Huh, that was fast,” before charging head down into the dog days. The actual Game is, at most, a chance to see something wacky happen, and at least, a welcome alternative to America’s Got Talent.

It’s not the Game’s fault that this has happened. Blame it on progress, on all the things we cherish every day except for this one: the Internet, MLB.TV, iPhone apps, the aforementioned satellites and league-hopping schedules. All of the things that have brought all-star baseball into our daily lives have devalued the one day set aside to honor it. That’s not a good thing or a bad thing, really. It just is. It’s progress.

There will likely come a time when the All-Star Game is no longer. In our ever-more efficient, ever-globalized and cost-benefit analysis-based world, the Game will lose it’s place. It’ll join fenceless outfields and $1 bleacher seats and old-fashioned stirrups. We’ll move on. It won’t be a huge loss, in the grand scheme of things.

But you can can guarantee that every once in a while, we’ll miss it. We’ll remember when Larry Walker faced Randy Johnson batting right-handed and with his helmet on backwards. We’ll remember when a young (!) Torii Hunter robbed Barry Bonds of a home run. We’ll remember when not one, but two guys entered the All-Star Game before they could enter a bar. And we’ll miss it.

So while it’s still here, we might as well watch. Even if it’s just to mock ESPN’s broadcast, or bemoan the quality of play, or debate for the millionth time whether Derek Jeter really deserves to be an All-Star. We might as well watch, because for one night, it’s baseball the way we all played it back when: for fun, among friends, with little regard for the score. It’s a much-deserved pause, before we all charge head down into the dog days.

Adam Cancryn is an editor and co-founder of Began in ‘96.