A Once Exciting Annual Contest Has Become Pathetically Bad
Photo below: 1968 All-Star Game Hank Aaron Swipes 2nd Base In A Competitive Game
While reluctantly watching this year’s baseball All-Star Game there was a pre-game tribute to Hank Aaron who passed away January 22, 2021. This may have been the high point of the evening as the Fox broadcast and the game itself was lacking in any drama or competitiveness.
Where’s The Drama?
The All-Star Game has become a love-fest between the players and interleague play has ruined what was once a fierce rivalry between the American and National Leagues. In the 1950 All-Star Game in Chicago, Ted Williams fractured his left elbow making a leaping, off-the-wall catch on a Ralph Kiner smash in the 1st inning. Williams remained in the game, and put the American League ahead, 3 – 2, in the fifth inning with an RBI single. Ted Williams said he was never the same after fracturing his elbow. Williams, like many players went all out playing in the All-Star Game, which is an exhibition game with no meaning in the standings. The AL and NL teams used to badly want to beat the opposition in the annual showdown.
Now opposing players hug each other while competing. “Rivals” chat away like bosom buddies while on base. The honor of being selected to the team is not a big deal. Players bow out of showing up for the most mundane reasons.
The broadcast is simply awful. The in-between action quick-cut promos, The horrible music accompanying the promos. The announcers talking to players while they are at bat or in the field does not enhance the experience, but detracts from it. The announcers are never quiet for more than one second with obligatory observations and overblown adulatory comments. The presentation is a failure on every level.
After a couple of innings the mute button was engaged on my television and my interest waned rapidly.
Oh Yeah… Hank Aaron
Getting back to Aaron, it was mentioned that he made 25 All-Star appearances. Fox did not show an Aaron All-Star Game highlight during the broadcast.
Known as a slugger Hank Aaron could run well and steal bases when necessary. He stole bases in the 1967 and 1968 All-Star games.
The 1968 All-Sar Game was held at the Houston Astrodome. Aaron had one of five NL hits and stole second base in the sixth inning. It was also Mickey Mantle’s last Al-Star appearance. The National League, as was their custom in the sixties and seventies, won the game 1-0. From 1960-1979 the National League won twenty-one All-Star Games and lost only two. (There were two games played each year from 1959-1962.)
Mickey Mantle said in the June 1970 Baseball Digest Magazine “As far as I’m concerned, Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last 15 years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He’s never received the credit he’s due.”
Win At All Costs
In the 1970 All-Star Game, Pete Rose replaced Hank Aaron in the fifth inning and scored from second base on this play to win the game in the bottom of the twelfth.
51 years later, catcher Ray Fosse and Pete Rose are still at odds over the play which Fosse claims ruined his career. How important was winning the All-Star Game? Rose explains in this interview with Chris Russo.