Tanguay: All-Star Games no longer shine bright

Tanguay: All-Star Games no longer shine bright
July 16, 2014, 5:15 pm
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The rotary phone, the VCR and the thigh master had their day. But like everything in life, that day came to an end.

And now the sun is setting on All-Star games. Not just the baseball All-Star game, but all professional All-Star games.

I'm so tired of hearing different theories on how to fix these exhibition games. For baseball, "THIS TIME IT MATTERS” -- i.e., giving the league that wins the game home-field advantage in the World Series -- gave the game purpose. But did that purpose wane when Derek Jeter was served up a respect filled, “Aw, go ahead and hit it, Derek,” pitch last night?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is floating an idea of a midseason international tournament in Las Vegas. It’s going to work as well as moving the Pro Bowl to the weekend before the Super Bowl. And isn't the skills competition the best part about the NHL All-Star Game? I love it when they smash those plates in the net.

These All-Star games can't be fixed. Like the rotary phone and the VCR and the thigh master, they no longer serve their purpose. Back in the day, baseball's All-Star Game gave us in New England a chance to see players like Johnny Bench and Tom Seaver, whom we never saw except for a (very) occasional appearance on Saturday's Game of the Week. Now, thanks to the cable and satellite television, all players can be seen anywhere, everywhere, at any time. Furthermore, I wanted to see how MY Red Sox hitters did against a Steve Carlton, how MY Red Sox pitchers did against a Dave Parker. Now, thanks to interleague play, matchups like these are available are commonplace. 

And the baseball All-Star Game, despite the sport's declining popularity, is still the best of the genre. I never remember the Pro Bowl being a big deal for anyone other than a player who gets a free junket to Hawaii and a contract bonus. The knock on the game is the players don’t play hard and don’t play defense. Of course they don’t! Why should they?!? Should a player risk his body, and millions of dollars in salary, to make a play in an exhibition game where the coaches wear Hawaiian shirts?

The NHL has the same issue. Risk a shoulder injury by checking an opponent into the boards? Block a shot, Tortarella-style, and crush an ankle? Ahhh, no.

Some love the fact that there's no defense in the NBA All-Star Game and some hate it. There's no defense played during the regular season, so why would we expect any to be played here? Furthermore, moreso than any other sport, NBA players run in the same circle. They gamble together, they vacation together, they go to Miami together, they work out in the offseason together . . . and, during All-Star weekend, they party together. That’s what the NBA All-Star Game is. One big bash!

So, there it is. The way I look at it, All-Star games give me a chance to spend more time with my family, clean the garage or get caught up with Shameless or Californication with Xfinity ON DEMAND.