As we approach the MLB All-Star break, I wanted to take a look at the Mid-Summer Classic. In this country, there are four team sports atop the list in terms of popularity. Each league (MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL) has its own sort of a all-star break/weekend to showcase their most talented players. All four have their faults, but which league is the best? My choice is the MLB for many different reasons.
Baseball is unique in the fact that it is the only league of the four that doesn't have constant competition from other sports. The NBA and NHL are played practically at the same time during the year, while the NFL is covered by the MLB, NBA, and NHL. Despite the first two months of the season, the MLB has basically 3 months of exclusive sports coverage. The MLB All-Star Game doesn't have to compete for viewers at all, because there is simply no other popular sports in-season.
Still, that's not why the MLB All-Star break is the best. First, the Home Run Derby is awesome. Yes, it is way too long and it seems to always drag on; however, it's a fun environment for both fans and fellow All-Stars. The dunk contest is very exciting, but it is losing some hype as players start advertising in the middle of the court with cars. The NHL has an entertaining skills competition, particularly the Hardest Shot contest; but still what can be more exciting than watching premier power hitters hit 500 foot bombs?
Second, out of all of the All-Star games, the MLB has the most realistic game. It closely resembles an actual baseball game, which can't be said for the other three games. The NBA All-Star game involves no defense, as highlight reel dunks and alley-oops are more important than winning. The NHL All-Star game usually ends up with 10+ total goals, hardly comparable to an actual hockey game. The Pro Bowl just flat out sucks. Nobody wants to watch people play football without a pass rush and big hits. It's by far the worst of the four and I rather it not even be played, but my hatred for the ProBowl can wait for another day.
The MLB All-Star Game is realistic, in that, pitching is always great, but there's never a shutout. Hitting is great, but there's never a shootout. In the last ten years, there has been an average of about 10 runs total per All-Star Game, which is in line with the MLB's scoring average per game in the past decade. Some critics will argue that the game shouldn't be the determinant for home-field advantage in the World Series, and I couldn't agree more; however, the MLB is attempting to make the All-Star game mean something, which inturn has made it more realistic.
Even from a viewer's perspective, it is fun to watch the best players in the game playing the game the right way. None of the other three are even close to playing the right way, with the NHL being second to the MLB. Many people want to fix the MLB All-Star Game, but why don't we enjoy the Mid-Summer Classic for what it is: the best all-star game.