Hola amigos. I’m sure that many of you likely didn’t notice, given the excellent job that everyone did in filling in for me (from Drew’s writing to JonBen and Matt appearing on the Getting Blanked Show), but I was away last week, traversing the American states and getting caught up in romanticizing the land of the free and glorifying the home of the brave.

U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A! Sorry, it becomes engrained in you a little bit.

However, now that I’m back, I’d like to address something that was sticking in my craw before I left and has only become a bigger shit in my cut as the event draws closer: hatred for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

I get it, fellow punk rockers, we’re all pretty cool, and we don’t have time for (or we haven’t quite adopted enough ironic detachment to sardonically enjoy) something so gimmicky as a baseball game that, let’s be honest, is ultimately meaningless and generally lacking in competitiveness.

We’re better than that. It’s all so manufactured and unoriginal that it has the distinct odour of being inauthentic. If what makes baseball great is the showdown, the conflict between batter and hitter, that foundation of excellence is far too greatly diminished in a friendly setting in which outcomes mean little. The fact that the athletes participating in the game would most likely rather be doing something else somewhere else doesn’t make things all that more appealing either.

However, here’s the thing: the All-Star Game isn’t about you. It’s a marketing vehicle for the game of baseball, for the league, the brand, for everything that Bud Selig spends time and energy promoting. It’s explicitly for the benefit of those who don’t read baseball blogs, don’t understand fielding independent pitching numbers and certainly don’t think about the game’s next exploitable market inefficiency.

It’s for kids. It’s for casual fans. It’s for the equivalent of the zombies that move around exhibition halls in search of products they probably don’t need, but feel a desire to purchase anyway. If you read Getting Blanked regularly, the MLB All-Star Game probably isn’t for you. Now, get over it. Move on, and I guarantee your life will be a happier one.

I realized this as an eleven year old.

In 1991, the All-Star game was played in Toronto at the newly built SkyDome. My mother decided to schedule our family vacation for the very same week the game was to be played, and of course, instead of doing something half way decent, wherein I might be able to watch the game from a television, we went camping. And not the type of camping where there’s a tuck shop nearby and running water steps from a camp site, our family’s version of camping involved hoisting food up in a tree so that bears wouldn’t attack us in the middle of the night.

I hated this activity to begin with, and missing the baseball All-Star game made it all the more horrible. It made absolutely no sense to me then, and still doesn’t, that “roughing it” and physical exertion should be seen as a holiday, but when you’re elven years old, you really don’t have much of a say in such matters.

So, I missed the game. I didn’t know anything about it, until on the way home from the trip, I came across a day old newspaper at a greasy spoon on an ill begotten highway and learned that Cal Ripken Jr. hit a home run. Reading about it days later, the insignificance of the game dawned on me. Even if I had sat through the three plus hours of game time, it would be every bit as meaningless as learning about the outcome at a place with laminated menus long after it had already occurred. There was no impact, no discovery caused by the game. It was a meaningless exhibition that had more to do with hype and giving the sports media something to talk about and write about just before the dog days of summer kick in.

And that’s okay. It’s not about us. I believe that sometimes we become sheltered to a degree by our Twitter feeds and the social media surroundings that we choose for ourselves. We imagine the entire world to be much like the 300 Facebook friends whose status updates we don’t roll our eyes at. This, isn’t the case though. There’s an entire continent of casual baseball fans and kids under the age of eleven, who will still see the All-Star game as a spectacle, and something worthy of their attention.

And that’s exactly its purpose: to create fans who one day realize how ridiculous and unimportant the Mid-Summer Classic truly is.

And The Rest

The worst selections in All-Star history. [Baseball Nation]

Apologies to Joe Morgan. [Baseball Prospectus]

And also, fittingly, Tim McCarver as an All-Star analyst of baseball. [Washington Examiner]

U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A! [MLB.com]

Things to do while waiting out the All-Star break. [Old Time Family Baseball]

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is better off playing a woman’s sport. Or something derisive like that. [ESPN New York]

Why the knuckleball is so hard to hit. [Washington Post]

Derek Jeter dropped a baseball. [Star-Ledger]

The sad travails of San Francisco Giants starter Tim Lincecum continue. [McCovey Chronicles]

Sure. The Miami Marlins have had a disappointing first half of the season, but they should probably still have a playing representative at the All-Star game. [The Sun Sentinel]

Thou shalt not replay close calls. [ESPN Boston]

Are the New York Yankees really not putting it together with runners in scoring position? [Baseball Musings]

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zach Greinke is positioned to start three games in a row. Thanks a lot, Tony La Russa. [Orlando Sentinel]

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is doing a lot of bristling these days. [Cincinnati.com]

Lesson learned. [MLB.com]

Comments (36)

  1. Well said, Parkes.

  2. This article is a load of self-indulgent nonesense…

  3. my hatin for the all star game is right u p there with my hatin for that ruse we callin a president right today. colby got more rbi than skinny bum granderson and that gum chewin turd adam jones. figure that one out dickie birds.

  4. The all-star game is unimportant and silly and it’s absolutely a marketing vehicle.

    I am a regular reader of Getting Blanked and all though I am far far away from being an expert in advanced stats I love and respect them and try to use and understand them as best I am able.

    I also love the all-star game and personally attending the home run derby in 1991 was one of my fondest childhood memories.

    Normally I’m fine with the stuff you write (I’m not in the “fuck off Parkes” camp), but this article is probably the first I’ve read on this blog that I actually found kind of personally insulting. You’re making some really broad generalizations here and being unnecessarily judgmental and condescending.

    • Personally insulting? It’s an opinion piece about baseball’s All-Star Game.

      • ” It’s explicitly for the benefit of those who don’t read baseball blogs, don’t understand fielding independent pitching numbers and certainly don’t think about the game’s next exploitable market inefficiency.

        It’s for kids. It’s for casual fans. It’s for the equivalent of the zombies that move around exhibition halls in search of products they probably don’t need, but feel a desire to purchase anyway”

        • Meh. Maybe overracting (I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet when i wrote that)… but still I can enjoy the all-star game and still be something more than a “zombie”.

  5. Why must you suck the enjoyment out of everything? What is wrong with finding enjoyment in the All-Star Game for what it is – an opportunity for the fans to see most of the league’s best current players (along with some middle-aged players with familiar names who were once very good baseball players) all in one place at the same time.

    Who cares that it is not a truly competitive game? Who cares that the result of the game does not (or at least should not) matter? It is supposed to be fun. Fun for the fans. Fun for the players. Fun for everyone… except bloggers, apparently.

  6. I agree entirely. I already know I won’t be watching the All-Star Game. I deliberately made plans to do something else. It bores the shit out of me. However, if I ever get the chance to GO to the All-Star festivities, I would love it. I think it’d be cool to actually be there and see all the stuff that goes on. Especially this year being in KC (probably my favourite American city along with Pittsburgh).

    • Your favourite American cities are KC and Pittsburgh? Or do you mean their baseball stadiums because that would make a lot more sense.

      • No, I mean the cities. I’m partial to a lot of American cities, but those two are awesome. The baseball experience is a big part of it, but so is the food. KC’s barbeque and Pittsburgh’s…everything is just awesome. I think they’re both very underrated cities.

        KC also has an incredible music scene for jazz and folk–not to mention the Negro League museum. Awesome place.

  7. Ok… but what about your face?

  8. Can’t wait for the All-Star game! Camping isn’t for everyone, but I love roughing it. You know, getting dirty and feeling peaceful. Reminds me, though, I’ve got to get on the Twitter. Great to see you back, Parkes. Love reading your stuff!

    • Thanks. And thanks for understanding the equating of camping with the all-star game. I appreciate it when people don’t take offense to differing views.

      • True that! Different strokes, different folks is what I always say.

      • To clarify, since you’re at least in part referring to me here, I take absolutely no offense to your views on the all-star game differing from mine (nor the wave, which I think is generally harmless – though I could do wihout it). Different Stokes and all that as Ollie said.

        Where I take offense is in the implication that my admiration of the all-star game somehow makes me a lesser fan. Because that’s really how this piece came across to me.

        I do love your writing. It’s why I’m here daily and I comment often (and will continue to do so), and more often than not I find myself on the same side of the argument as you, Stoeten, Drew, etc. I think your whole staff is humourous, passionate about baseball and extremely knowledgeable. I’m still a fan – just throwing out some food for thought.

        • Still waiting for Parkes to reply to both of IMW’s excellent follow-up points.

          • Camping is tits, dude. I grew up spending a good chunk of each summer camping and listening to Cheek and Howarth after a day of swimming or fishing. Baseball and camping go hand in hand for me.

            There’s a differing perspective for you, bee-atch.

        • I don’t think you’re a lesser fan for enjoying the All-Star game. In fact, I’d suggest that if you’re able to, you’re probably a better fan than me. I’m saying that it’s ridiculous for baseball fans to complain about it because it’s not for them. It’s not something that’s made for them. It’s created for more casual fans, to make them less casual. There’s no slight intended for those who do enjoy the game.

  9. Well done on the description of why you hipsters hate the ASG. I appreciate the humourous self-awareness.

  10. I still watch the all-star game, or at least have it on while I do something else. Might get a laugh or two out of it–Larry Walker switcher hitting? That shit is gold!

    It used to be I liked watching it because I’d see a bunch of players I wouldn’t otherwise, being the type of fan who watched exclusively the Jays (and some playoffs). But now that there’s interleague you can’t even watch it with that excuse. That’ll be even more true next year.

    Plus, this being the first year I bought mlb.tv (unsponsored plug), I watch quite a few non-Jays games and get to see the best players from all of the teams play meaningful games whenever I feel like it, anyway.

    Conclusion: All-Star game mostly blows ass because of the ridiculous inflated rosters; the bullshit homefield advantage for world series bullshit; the fan stuffing of the ballot box hullabaloo; and the all the marketing propaganda they force feed you.

    But I’ll still put it on.

  11. I think this was a solid post but the post that I would really like to read would be about how the all star game is like a big reality check for all those people for whom the all star game is irrelevant, manufactured solely existing for the purpose of advertising, etc. I mean in the ‘big picture’ when compared with things like war and famine and all that all baseball looks like the all star game looks to us right now. I think we can all agree however that there are some parts of the baseball industry and are marketing fluff and other parts that we think are interesting. When you see the cameras pan to Brett Lawrie everytime the baseball moves it smirks of capitalizing on his popularity and the maple in his bloodstream. When you hear some good colour comentary (pretty rare for jays fans) on a 12 pitch at bat between Justin Verlander and Mike Trout (hypothetically for example) we feel that this is why we watch baseball. What i think would be interesting would be a discussion of where is the line? What is the part of baseball is the part that is seperate from the marketing and the fluff and the advertising? I’m sure it’s there, I wouldn’t watch the games if it wasn’t.

  12. Home runs are awesome, but they aren’t even hitting real home runs in the HR Derby! It’s fucking batting practice!

    In the last few years, I have realized how unbelievably boring the HR Derby and All-Star Game is, and so I agree with you completely Parkes. As you say though, the All-Star festivities aren’t supposed to appeal to the diehard fans, so whatever, we live with it for 3 days, and see it as a nice break for our favourite teams to get back on track.

    At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the it for what it is, so there’s really no reason to be critical of the people who like the game. No need to be an asshole about it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *