Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rant Against All-Star Game

So, raise your hand if you stayed up until the end of the All-Star game last night.

My hand isn’t up. When they started the top of the fifth inning at 10 o’clock on the east coast that was enough for me. The good news is the best part of the game—the player introductions and President Obama throwing out the first pitch—came at the beginning so I was still awake for that.

My friend Tom Boswell wrote in The Washington Post this morning about what a great extravaganza the All-Star break has become. While conceding their might be some commercial excess involved (might?) Bos harkened back to the days when the All-Star game was just, well, a game with a lot of stars involved.

I guess I’m just an old curmudgeon but I liked that. I certainly don’t need the hokie Home Run Derby or, for that matter, the rookie stars game. I’d rather see the kids playing in the minor leagues or in spring training than in some hyped up exhibition game where every parent, brother, sister gets interviewed because no one really wants to watch the game.

I like the tradition that the All-Star game stands for and the fact that, unlike in All-Star games in other sports where the only real goal is not to get hurt, the players do actually try to win the game.

But My God how long did that game take? I haven’t even looked it up, but I swear the commercials between innings lasted about 10 minutes each. At least it felt that way. One of the things that’s nice about baseball is that there is no clock, that the game moves along at its own pace. But when you feel as if the commercials are longer than the half-innings, that’s out of control.

I know sponsors pay the freight but the people running sports need to re-think some of this. The NCAA basketball tournament, for all its inherent drama, has lost all flow and rhythm because there are so many TV time outs and each of them takes so long. Every game in the tournament comes to a dead stop for a 20 minute halftime. Then, when play resumes, there are usually two three-minute stoppages in the first five minutes: one the regularly scheduled TV time out and one the first timeout taken by a team that becomes a full time out. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

The NFL is just as bad with five time outs required per quarter. How much fun is it when a team scores and there’s a commercial, followed by a kickoff and ANOTHER commercial. Some of these smart, highly-paid people need to figure out some creative ways to give the sponsors their money’s worth without making every game played take longer than a trip through the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour.

Okay, enough ranting for one day. Real baseball returns tomorrow. Finally.


Bruce said...

What was really remarkable was that the game itself took only 2 hours 31 minutes, a very brisk game for 2009. And the way the National League, yet again, lost its lead and then lost the game in the eighth felt comfortably familiar (you knew it was coming), and reminded me of something I keep seeing throughout this baseball season....oh, yes, the Washington Nationals' bullpun blowing a lead and a game over and over again.

Finally, Joe Nathan facing Ryan Howard in the bottom of the eighth with two man on, two outs, in an one run game is what All Star Games should be about.

Tim B said...

Yeah, what are the odds that the National Leauge keeps losing? Its pretty bizarre.

The commercials are what really stink these days....and it bothers me even more with game ending situations. There is no analysis done by the announcing team anymore - just flips into then out of the paydays. I miss the days that we hear strategy, maybe even take a look into the huddle.

qtlaw said...

Somehow some way someone will dial back the knob on commercials, or people will just resort to watching the things recorded and skipping the commercials (as I do). Loss of flow just stinks and the score, commercial, kickoff, commercial routine is the worst in televised sports.

As for the All-Star game, the players simply make too much to care anymore and everyone is too worried about the "injury."

chris said...

totally agree.
here's the answer: DVR.

I can't watch a game live anymore.
no chance.

Tzvi said...

It's funny to complain about this one bc it was the quickest one in 20+ years. I hear th complaint in general though. I thought that the NBA FInals was running way too late.

togajohn said...

I didn't watch this terrible game at all, Tuesday night is poker night. These players couldn't care less about this game. I'm a LA Dodger fan and now if I go to World Series we don't have home field because of this game. Great system. Love reading Jr.'s blog though, can't wait to hear him on Mr. Tony's future radio show!!