Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ranking the All Star Games [J. Mark English]

Nothing like getting ready for big time action at an All Star game.
Okay, I admit that that statement reeks of sarcasm. Not many people schedule time into their busy weekends (with the exception of a lazy blogger or two) to watch an all star game, no matter what the sport.
Tonight, I will be watching the NBA's All Star game , because its February, and there really isn't anything else worth least nothing is sports related.
Just for fun though, I thought I'd rank the all star games of all four major sports.
  1. MLB All Star Game - Ahh, the mid season classic. Its lost its luster over the past 20 years because of lack of league pride. There was a time when this game had the intensity of a playoff game. Rarely did a reserve player get a chance to play. Managers took the game very seriously and would let their starting pitchers pitch as long as they could. There have been pitchers who have struck out some of the most awe inspiring line ups of all time. There have been heroic plays, and a chance to see your bitter rivals play as teammates, like the Red Sox and the Yankees. This game offered a chance for a National League fan to see the American League players, and vice versa. Over the years though, more and more players were put in, and the game lost its intensity. It reached a low point a few years ago when an extra inning game had to be stopped because of lack of available players. The game ended in a tie. But since the new rule which guarantees home field advantage in the World Series to the winning league, the game has started to get its bite back. Last year, the NL had a chance to win for the first time in many years. Carlos Beltran could have tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. He played the whole game, and though he grounded out, he ran out the play at full speed, making NL fans hope that their teams would have a chance for homefield. It was truly exciting.
  2. NBA All Star game - Theres no defense, but who could defend the teams that are on the court at this game. Tonight the East features Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in the same backcourt. Is that not worth the price of admission? Remember the 1992 All Star game where Magic Johnson returned to play his final All Star game? You had 10 Hall of Famers on the court. They included Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Isiah Thomas, and many more. Does it get any better then that bunch? Tonight's game represents the new golden age of players as David has referred too. This game may lack the intensity of a playoff game, but the fun of enjoying such talent on display is worth watching.
  3. NHL All Star game - For a sport that prides itself on physical play, their all star game bares no physicality at all. There might as well be no goaltenders since the final score is usually 15-11. Its great to see the whole talent of the NHL on the ice all at once, but the sport they are playing on the ice is far different from the one I watch during the regular season. The NHL All Star game is to hockey, what the Arena Football League is to football. Its not the same game...
  4. NFL Pro Bowl - This is the most pathetic of the four major all star games. Might as well call it a glorified vacation. They are limited in the plays they can run, you can barely sack the quarterback, and everyone is playing at half speed so as not to get injured. Its probably the most worthless game in existence, but it offers a fun way to wrap up the season for the NFL's best.

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