With the Major League Baseball All Star Game coming up it appears to me that of the four major professional team sports, baseball is the only one that actually plays the game the way it is supposed to be played.
In the baseball All Star Game the players actually try to play baseball. The pitchers throw their best pitches. The fielders try to make plays and the hitters go to the plate trying to get hits.
That is not the case in the NFL. In the Pro Bowl defenders do not try to tackle. Running backs do not try to punish tacklers because there are not many tacklers. Quarterbacks try to complete passes but no receiver is going to go over the middle to make a catch. Nobody is going to try to throw a vicious block.
In the All Star Game in basketball absolutely no attempt is made at playing defense. Dunks go uncontested. Shots go uncontested and scoring is all that anybody on either team is concerned with.
In hockey there are no fights. What more needs to be said?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly suggested that the Pro Bowl not be played. He suggested that the teams be selected but that the game was not really a game and did not resemble the product that the NFL is trying to sell.
Players who are making north of $5 million a year and whose careers are limited to a short period of time do not want to risk an injury on a game that is not a game but an exhibition. That is true in basketball and hockey. The games are played for public relations, fans, and the almighty dollar.
When the Pro Bowl was played in Los Angeles they couldn’t give away the seats. I worked for Hawthorne Parks and Recreation and the NFL told all recreation departments that they would comp busloads of kids if they would come to the game. The players didn’t want to play so the game was moved to Hawaii. Players like Hawaii more than they do LA so they showed up in bigger numbers.
In baseball the game now determines which league will have the home team advantage in the World Series. Then why do they select the teams the way they do? Allowing fans to vote on any team is ridiculous. Fans are not objective—that is why they are called fans (short for fanatic). Every year players who are having horrible years or who are injured get elected to the All Star Teams.
The best way to select any All Star Team is by players’ vote. Sportswriters are just paid fans in many cases.
Now that the Miami Heat has won the NBA title, I have some questions. Did anybody miss the games that were eliminated by the strike? Do you remember the strike? Maybe a 66-game season is better. Just having the playoffs would be better. Why do they play the first three periods in the NBA? Fans getting there at the end of the third period see what is important. In baseball, hockey and football the first innings and periods and quarters are important. Not so in the NBA. They play too many games and hold back until the final period.