With the NHL All-Star game and NFL Pro Bowl finishing up this weekend, I think that it is safe to say that all-star games need to go away. I’ve never been an all-star fan and I don’t think many people out there are. They may do well in terms of ratings, but I would say this has more to do with people being a big sport of the fan than someone being interested in the actual all-star game themselves. I’m going to tell you why I believe all-star games need to go the way of the newspaper, Apple computers and the Commodore 64.
1. Fan Voting – The biggest abomination to any all-star game is letting fans have a voice in saying who goes. While the idea behind it is sound, the execution of it is terrible. Letting a biased group of people have say in what happens always turns out to be a shit show. Case in point, look at the NHL All-Star game during the 2008-2009 season in Montreal. This was probably fan voting at its worst since the dregs of Montreal voted in Carey Price, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov and Alexei Kovalev to start the game. It’s a little curious that four Canadiens make the all-star game when the game in held in Montreal. A few of those guys (Price and Komisarek) didn’t even deserve to be there, let alone start.
The NHL isn’t the only sport where fan voting has diluted the allure of an all-star game. The NBA announced their starters last weekend and guess who is the starting center for the West? Tim Duncan? Wrong. Channing Frye? Nope. Andrew Bynum? Negative. It is Yao fucking Ming. You know who he is right? The overrated center from China who has played in five NBA games in the past two seasons. Yeah, that guy is an all-star and a starting all-star at that. Another issue? The two best teams in the NBA (Spurs, Celtics) have zero starters in the all-star game. How does this happen? It’s easy, allow fans to vote.
2. Players Don’t Seem To Care – The NHL All-Star game is a prime example of this. I watched some of it last night (more for the NHL Guardian Project than anything) and constantly saw players avoiding checks and/or not even attempting them when the situation would warrant it in an actual game. So if the players aren’t taking the game seriously than why should we, as fans?
The NBA All-Star game is the same way. No one plays defense and allows the game to get in to the upper 120′s at times. How is this entertaining? I want to see people try on defense, not just allow guys to penetrate the lane and dunk the fucking basketball. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, but come on…someone try out there.
3. Takes up valuable air space – Seriously. All I wanted to do last night was watching “Bob’s Burgers” and enjoy some mindless animated comedy. What do I get instead? The NFL Pro Bowl, something I could care less about. This seems to happen all too frequently when it comes to All-Star games. I can’t really comment about what I’d be watching on Versus because if the NHL isn’t on it, I’m not watching it. I guess by “valuable air space” it means shit I would rather watch.
I have a solution to the All-Star game fiasco. Every sport has some sort of skills competition and each sport (with the exception of the NFL) as a signature skills comp event. The NHL has the hardest shot competition, the NBA has the 3 point contest/slam dunk contest and the MLB has the homerun derby. Instead of having an all-star game, why not put on a skills competition and then let your players rest. Allow the leagues to vote for the all-stars based on their play and not allow fans to vote based on name and hold some sort of skills competition. It allows for players to get their all-star bonuses (if they have them in their contract) and also allows for leagues to get some sort of money without having to put out a horrendous product like an all-star game.
I have to ask all ten of my readers out there, did you miss the 2009-2010 NHL All-Star game? I know I didn’t. I think that Olympic break taught us that you don’t need an all-star game, especially if your product is strong. Despite the NHL’s attempt at shitty marketing (see: The Guardian Project), the game is becoming more popular and is growing in most of its markets.
Time to “Old Yeller” these all-star games.