NASCAR’s All-Star race is this Saturday and it’s fair to say that many sports fans never have seen one. That’s too bad. Compared to baseball, football, basketball and hockey, NASCAR’s All-Star race manages to live up to the hype. In honor of the forthcoming NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, let us take a look at the annual Suck Fest that is all other professional All-Star events.
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
First of all, a player from every team is chosen, even if that team is the Baltimore Orioles. For the folks who run Major League Baseball, there is no greater thrill than hearing those magic words, “Ladies and gentlemen, warming up in the American League bullpen, Orioles reliever George Sherrill!” I look forward to the day when my son tugs on my shirtsleeve and says, “Gee, pop, do you think our closer who blows one out of every six save opportunities will get in the game?” And I will turn to him and say, “I have a son? Did your mother work at Burger King in 2003?”
Fact: Unless you are watching your own team, baseball is incredibly boring. Only annoyingly nostalgic Bob Costas types admit to watching baseball for the sake of the game. These are the same people who brag about eating the peanut shell, because nothing tastes better than salted bark. My point: The Midsummer Classic is exponentially boring. Not only are you not watching your team play, you are watching players from 29 other teams play, so your level of interest is divided by 29. Bottom line: You have to wait an hour for your guy to get a single at-bat, which, invariably, is a pop-up to George Sherrill.
High Point: In 1970, future national disgrace Pete Rose plows into Ray Fosse and effectively stymies the catcher’s promising career to score the winning run of a meaningless game.
Low Point: The 2002 game ends in a tie. I watched that game. If I had a sister, I would have kissed her just to feel something again.
NBA All-Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl
I am combining these two because they share the same glaring defect – lack of defense.
At least in baseball, the fielders make an attempt to play D. You never see the Indians’ Grady Sizemore wait for a pop fly to hit the ground to avoid injuring his glove hand. Yet that is exactly the lack of effort one expects from the likes of the NBA and NFL. If you ever thought, “I wish I could watch the French Army obliterated by waves of German panzer divisions at the start of WWII in HD,” then forget The History Channel. Watch the NBA All-Star Game or NFL Pro Bowl.
NBA All-Star Game High Point: In 1992 Magic Johnson, after retiring following the announcement that he had HIV, wins the game’s MVP award. This, actually, was fun to watch – one of the great moments in the history of the game.
NBA All-Star Game Low Point: 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. During the game the East gives up an atrocious 153 points. Off the court, during a brawling weekend on the Strip, NFL player Pacman Jones is involved in a triple shooting at a strip – or "scrip" – club.
NFL Pro Bowl High Point: 2009. A wide receiver (Larry Fitzgerald) leaves his feet to make a reception.
NFL Pro Bowl Low Point: Chris Berman introduces The Backstreet Boys at the halftime show. The year: 2006.
The NHL All-Star Game
I have never seen one. I’ll be honest here. I’m not sure this actually exists.