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Article updated: 7/16/2013 5:49 AM

All-Star Game is far from must-see TV these days

Los Angeles Dodgers young phenom Yasiel Puig not a part of Tuesday night’s All-Star Game? That’s just one of many issues about the Midsummer Classic, says Mike Imrem.

Los Angeles Dodgers young phenom Yasiel Puig not a part of Tuesday night's All-Star Game? That's just one of many issues about the Midsummer Classic, says Mike Imrem.

 

Associated Press

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Tuesday night's baseball All-Star Game in New York has come down to a game-time decision.

To watch or not to watch, that is the question.

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Didn't used to be any doubt. This was the Midsummer Classic and a diversion from a long, sometimes laborious schedule.

Instead of a celebration of an interesting 2013 season it has become merely an interruption.

The game is just a bunch of guys playing against each other after we already saw so many of them play against each other in interleague games. Sorry, but the thrill is gone.

Why even think of watching then? Well, because it's baseball, it's on television, and it isn't the Pro Bowl.

Still, there are at least as many reasons the All-Star Game has gone from what it was to what it is:

•The National League couldn't find a place on its roster for rookie Yasiel Puig, currently the sport's most exciting story.

Yes, I come down on the side of the debate that the Dodgers' shooting star should be in this game.

Fans didn't vote Puig onto the NL team, which was justifiable because Atlanta's Freddie Freeman was more deserving. However, Puig also deserves to be there and might never be as compelling as right now even if he plays 20 more seasons.

If Puig were in Citi Field on Tuesday night I would stay tuned for however long it took to see him make an appearance. Time zones being what they are, we here in the Midwest haven't had much chance to see him since he burst onto the scene.

We're being deprived of an opportunity Tuesday night, the rationale being that he hasn't been a major-leaguer long enough to be an all-star.

Please, stop it. Quit taking this game so seriously. It already has become an exhibition game rather than the serious competition it once was.

Power to the Puig, I say.

•That's the problem: MLB is trying to trick the TV audience into taking the game seriously.

First of all, few decisions in sports are more absurd than attaching homefield advantage in the World Series to the outcome of the All-Star Game.

The next thing you know, the NFL will replace the Super Bowl coin flip with the number of yards gained in this month's Hall of Fame exhibition game. Home court in the NBA Finals will be determined by a best-dressed contest among head coaches. Home ice in the Stanley Cup Final will go to the team with fewer teeth instead of more victories.

Players are taught to not look too far ahead, and now they're told how they fare Tuesday night will matter three months from now.

Bud Selig has made dumber decisions, but not many.

•Having each MLB team represented by at least one player in the All-Star Game was a good idea a few decades ago.

Not anymore. Too many almost-stars are clogging the rosters. What are they up to, 50 or 60 players per league?

Chicago baseball fans have had to watch the Cubs and White Sox play the past three months. They shouldn't have to watch any Chicago player tip his cap in pre-All-Star Game introductions.

The game might live up to "it counts," as Selig likes to say, if the managers didn't have to get so many players to the plate and so many pitchers on the mound.

Yes, the game might count but, no, it still doesn't matter.

•So what do you think, the All-Star Game or a night of "NCIS," "Rizzoli and Isles" and "Person of Interest"?

For me, I'm still trying to make up my mind because the Midsummer Classic has been reduced to an All-Star Game-time decision instead of appointment television.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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