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posted: 7/9/2012 8:47 PM

All-Star Game definitely not must-see TV

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  • While Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City was filled Monday during MLB All-Star batting practice, the game itself has lost a lot of its attractiveness over the years, says columnist Mike Imrem.

    While Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City was filled Monday during MLB All-Star batting practice, the game itself has lost a lot of its attractiveness over the years, says columnist Mike Imrem.
    Associated Press


As we speak I'm checking Tuesday night's TV listings for something more attractive than baseball's All-Star Game.

This isn't difficult.

On over-the-air networks is an "NCIS" rerun at 7 p.m. After that, on cable the myriad choices include first-runs of "White Collar," "Covert Affairs," "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Franklin and Bash."

My evening is set, and Chris Sale misses the cut.

Major League Baseball has done everything possible the past several decades to make the All-Star Game less appealing.

Next season they'll do even more when the Houston Astros switch leagues and both the American and National will have 15 teams apiece.

This will require interleague play to be spread out through the entire season instead of a few weeks.

In happier times, as they say, teams in opposite leagues didn't mingle with each other until the World Series in autumn oh, yeah, and once, or twice a couple of years in the 1960s, during the summer.

When the All-Star Game was concocted, there were two distinct major leagues without much overlap.

They were so distinct that each had its own president in his own headquarters and he sent out directives to beat the snot out of the other league in the All-Star Game.

Players in the American League were American Leaguers during all or most of their careers. Players in the National League were National Leaguers during all or most of their careers.

Competitively speaking, AL players didn't care much for NL players, and NL players didn't care much for AL players. They had pride in their own league because they didn't bounce from one to the other, which now happens routinely.

Players such as Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Pete Rose and the best of the dynastic Yankees wanted to win the All-Star Game so they could boast that they played in the better league.

Now baseball essentially doesn't consist of two leagues anymore. The designated hitter rule notwithstanding, MLB is like cloned families living next door to each other.

There is interleague trading when there didn't used to be. There aren't league presidents or offices anymore. Umpires bounce between leagues.

None of this is anybody's fault. The moves were made for several reasons, presumably among them the best interests of the game.

So, now, one of the game's best hitters might face one of the game's best pitchers in Tuesday night's All-Star Game and next week be his teammate playing against former teammates who also were traded to another league.

If you're confused by that last paragraph, you aren't any more than I am.

Bud Selig, the commissioner of confusion, decided last decade that something needed to be done to create more interest in the All-Star Game.

(You know, it's like that drug campaign: This is the Midsummer Classic this is the Midsummer Classic on Bud's brain.)

Selig mandated that homefield advantage in the World Series would go to the representative of the league that wins the All-Star Game.

Remarkably, the commissioner managed to initiate something that's dumb for both of Major League Baseball's major events.

This is supposed to coax a player to care enough to want to win the All-Star Game just in case his team -- you know, like the Cubs -- qualifies for the World Series.

Maybe players do care now but, sorry, I still won't care enough to watch much of tonight's game.

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