The All-Star Game: Arglebargle or Foofaraw?

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This weekend in an interview* with The Oakland Press, Detroit Tigers’ first baseman Miguel Cabrera said “I don’t care” when informed that he was behind Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals for the American League starting slot at first for next month’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, trailing by about 475,000 votes in the most recent update.

*Do reporter tweets count as interviews?

Frankly, Cabrera’s right. He shouldn’t care.

The All-Star Game has become a bloated, overblown exercise in misguided masturbation for Major League Baseball and most players seem to view it as a missed opportunity for a four-day vacation, as opposed to the “honor” it is purported to be.

With the recent discussions to shorten the MLB season under the (correct) premise that it’s a grind and a marathon that wears players out, it seems reasonable that more players would prefer to have a few days of rest over traveling to another city and spending their time in an overly-hyped, usually underwhelming, exhibition contest.

Since players have nothing stronger than coffee nowadays to get them through the 162-game grind, thanks to the PED-watchdog culture that pervades the game, it makes all the sense in the world that giving these athletes a few days off in the midst of their season is a decent idea.

It is for sure a more lucrative proposal than the cries to trim the season down to 154 games, or any other number. After all, keeping star players healthy and on-the-field keeps fans coming through turnstiles and the owners’ pockets full(er than otherwise).

It beats the heck out of adding doubleheaders to the schedule. Most players are against the addition of twinbills to the schedule, while owners probably wouldn’t look too kindly on single admissions, and fans would hate double price for one trip to the ballpark. You try selling that weak sauce.

There’s something else to take from Cabrera’s ASG opinion. Mostly, I think Miggy was trying to spin that he’s been to plenty of them (and will likely be named as a reserve regardless), so what does it matter if he’s voted a starter or not.

The primary concern for Cabrera is how the Detroit Tigers do in the regular season, not how the American League does in a single game in mid-July in Cincinnati. Sure, if the Junior Circuit wins the Mid-Summer (cough) Classic, then the American League Champions will gain home-field advantage in the World Series, but let’s face it, that only matters when you get that far.

With the 10-team, expanded playoffs being a crap shoot that would make Vegas winch, it is no wonder most players don’t buy into the All-Star Game meaning anything at all.

The bottom line here is that the All-Star Game doesn’t matter in the least. It’s a gimmick in a game that seems to think that’s what sells.  While it is a wonderful notion that “this time it counts,” you can be damn sure that it doesn’t.