“Baseball All-Star game, not perfect, but my favorite”

Published 9:33 am Monday, July 2, 2012

Column: Aaron Worm, Behind the Mic

Out of the four major sports, the baseball All-Star Game is by far the best of them. It’s not perfect, but it’s the one that I pay the most attention to. This year’s baseball showcase game is July 10 in Kansas City.

Aaron Worm

Hockey has tried many different things to entice people to watch its All-Star Game, from having the North American All-Stars take on the World All-Stars, to now choosing team captains to pick teams. I don’t know if I was a goaltender if I would want to be selected. The last three All-Star Games have had both teams scoring double figures.

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Basketball hasn’t done much to change up their weekend to showcase their stars. Defense doesn’t exist, and the last time one of the two sides did not reach triple digits in points was 1973. The slam dunk contest was a fun event to watch back in the 1980s when Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins would compete against each other. In recent years they have had only had four dunkers, and last year’s event had Jeremy Evans (Utah) defeating Chase Budinger (Houston then, now with Minnesota) in the finals. Yawn.

The NFL Pro Bowl is after the season, and according to Wikipedia, gets the highest ratings of all the major all-star games. The rules are changed to try to prevent injury, and it seems like each year more and more guys don’t want to play in it. A free trip to Hawaii just isn’t enough for some guys. The NFL has even talked about possibility getting rid of the Pro-Bowl as early as this upcoming season.

The Minnesota Twins, barring injuries to current All-Stars, will have one representative in K.C., catcher Joe Mauer. Mauer is making his fifth All-Star game appearance.

Mauer’s four homers and 36 RBIs are not flashy numbers, but hitting .324 with 81 hits as a catcher, is pretty impressive.

Did the Twins deserve another player to go? If they were in first or second place in the Central, probably, fifth place, no.

Josh Willingham’s overall numbers are pretty good, 17 home runs, 55 RBIs, 43 runs scored and hitting .268.

The White Sox’s Adam Dunn is an All-Star, hitting 24 home runs and 58 RBI’s but is batting only .210.

I don’t think Dunn gets an invite if he is not on a first-place club. It’s too bad that the players that are up for the final spot on the American League team are all pitchers, because I think Willingham would of and should have been included in that.

The Twins going with Willingham and Ryan Doumit and letting Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel get away hasn’t hurt the team. Willingham and Doumit have combined for 24 home runs and 89 RBIs.

Cuddy with the Rockies and Kubel with the D-Backs have combined for 24 home runs as well, and have knocked in 100.

Kaufmann Stadium will be a great setting for the All-Star game. Out of the 12 current ballparks I have been to, it is probably my favorite.

My only real knock against the game is what is at stake. The winning league, its rep in the World Series will get home field advantage. Imagine this made-up scenario:

I don’t know if Oakland’s Ryan Cook trying to close the game against the Cubs Bryan LaHair should have an impact over whether the Yankees or Giants would have home field advantage in the Fall Classic.

With that being said, America’s pastime keeps changing. Additional wildcard team this year, then next year both leagues having 15 teams, so there will be interleague play all season. Next thing to change I think will be the designated hitter.

With the uniqueness of each league disappearing and no team wanting to see their $10 million-a-year pitcher hurt batting, I see that becoming instinct. As an old-school baseball fan, I sure hope it stops there.