Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Star Bore

This is the worst time of year.  Not because of all the snow.  It's because it's All-Star season.  Today both the NHL All-Star Game and Pro Bowl were held.  In a few weeks the NBA will follow with its All-Star Game.

I won't beat around the bush.  I think all-star games suck.  Sports leagues continue to try to reinvent them, but to me they're beyond redemption.

Today's games were a classic example.  In an effort to shake things up, the NHL made the baffling decision, rather than pit the Eastern and Western Conference like they usually do (or North America vs. World as has been done in some past Olympic years), the league voted Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Stall as captains who then handpicked "fantasy" teams based on fan voting for the top six players and league selection for the remaining all-stars. Then the game is scheduled on the Vs. Network at 4pm.  The Bruins' Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara played on opposite teams, which is also silly. Thus the all-star game pits Team Lidstrom and Team Stall.

What is this, Twilight? 

(For the record, I'm told Team Lidstrom won 11-10.)

The Pro Bowl is equally ridiculous. The league wants to set up a high-scoring shootout. The problem with football is that you have 45-man rosters (53 if you count the practice squad) and there are so many moving parts it's impossible to build a cohesive team in a week, let alone a smooth offense.  So they set up rules (no blitzing, zone defense only, etc.). But it just makes the game silly.  It certainly doesn't help that the NFC was up 42-0 with 5 minutes left in the first half.  It was actually pretty amazing that the AFC made the final score look competitive (NFC 55, AFC 41).

Even the baseball All-Star Game, while it has some venerable-ness to it, is silly.  Players get one at-bat, maybe two, starting and relief pitchers both get one inning on the mound.  And Bud Selig had the silly foresight to make the All-Star game determine home-field advantage, unlike every other league, which awards home-field to the team with the best record (the Super Bowl is a best-of-one, so I like that the NFL goes neutral-site). 

Anyway, I don't expect all-star games to be abolished.  I'm sure they make money for the league.  But they're not worth watching.  A total snoozer.

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