Like many serious baseball fans, I have been despairing for the All-Star Game in recent years. Ever since the farcical 2002 tie game and the subsequent “this time it counts” overreaction, the game has felt like it’s drifted more and more away from the platonic ideal.
Bloated rosters, an increasingly-absurd voting process, not to mention that if you want to watch one of the games you have to put up with the somnolent Joe Buck and the game-left-him-behind-in-the-80s Tim McCarver along with whatever ridiculous in-game promotional tie-ins some FOX show or sponsor can work into the broadcast. This year, if you watched closely, you heard Buck give a shout out to a character from a DirecTV commercial: the guy who shows up to his own funeral as a guy named Phil Shifley. The actor was in the crowd, wearing the costume from the commercial. He had the dyed eyebrows and everything. He had a nice seat. That happened.
For some time, these sorts of things caused me to gnash my teeth. One day, I came to a realization about the All-Star Game, and having reached that epiphany I found the whole ordeal a lot less stressful. That revelation is this: it’s not for me. I am not in the target demographic of the All-Star Game.
If baseball is a part of nearly every day of your life from April on through into October, then you probably aren’t in the target demographic either. Accept this, the knowledge that the broadcast is not and will never be geared towards you, and you too can sit back and enjoy what’s there to enjoy while hopefully being able to tune out the annoying and the stupid stuff. There’s a lot of that stuff, but you can do it. I have faith in you.
The thing about the All-Star Game is it’s there for the casual fan, or even the non-fan. This might not have been the case once, back before interleague play when the game really was about seeing matchups you’ll never see in the regular season. Or, if you go even farther back, before free agency, when players changed teams less often than now. There were no team networks, there was no Internet, no MLB.tv; you were watching the closest team and that was it. You really didn’t know the guys on the other teams. This was your chance to see them.
Now, you can see them any time you want. Even if you don’t watch other teams’ games obsessively, you can get the highlights the same night. People will drop you a line on Twitter and ask, dude, did you see that play? Probably you already did see the play and you are insulted they even had to ask. You know the stars. You know the storylines. You know the snubs. You are in rarefied air, because you know your stuff.