Having an All-Star Game in the middle of the baseball season takes a little time — I get that.
The logistics of getting 70-75 players and coaches for two All-Star teams to one ballpark in one major-league city and then back to wherever their teams start the second half of the season takes a few days.
But first it was three days and now it has stretched into four. Your favorite team finishes the first half on Sunday afternoon and finally those players lumber back onto the field again on Friday night. So, it’s four and a half days, really. For a fan who thrives on the ebb and flow of a 162-game season over six months, that’s a long break.
The All-Star Game is flash and pizzazz. The smoke and mirrors of “This One Counts” added by Commissioner Bud Selig after he screwed up royally and let the 2002 All-Star Game end in a tie didn’t add anything to the spectacle. He simply tried to sweep his mistake under the tarp by declaring that the winning league in the All-Star Game is awarded home-field advantage in the World Series for its champion, beginning in 2003.
This game we love still has the best all-star format of the four major team sports, but the “mid-summer classic” is not real baseball. The fan with the short-term attention span might be bedazzled by the pretty baubles of a home-run derby the day before, but he or she is not the one who can’t wait to get back to the sweat and dirt of the pennant races.
I don’t want to hear about the whines of “The players need rest” and “It gives most of the players a chance to spend time with their families.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s all fine and I get it. I’ll even wait until they start playing again on Friday night. Because I love the season of baseball, that’s what I’ll do.
But now that the players are all rested, revived and rejuvenated with love, let’s get them back out on the field. They are well-paid to work hard and travel much for 180 days-plus a year.
The fans have had to find other things to do for four days — things that they don’t normally do in the middle of summer. Those fans are ready for second-half, pennant-race baseball, regardless of where their team ends up.
We’ve gone more than 100 hours without the game. Play ball!