By Michael Fergusson
The Pro Bowl was this weekend. Did you miss it? That’s OK, we all did. Let’s be real: All-Star games are terrible, awful, pointless endeavors.
Right off the bat, we should get one thing straight: the MLB All-Star game is the only one that matters. The game decides which league, American or National, will have home-field advantage in the World Series.
If the All-Star game didn’t exist, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would likely just give this advantage to the team with the better record – a la the NBA.
As for every other American pro sports league, including the NFL and NHL, the All-Star games don’t really have a point.
Yes, they’re mostly for the fans to watch star players compete against each other and obviously there’s revenue created from these games, but regular season games serve this function and have an actual purpose, like counting toward the season record.
Fans love to see the competition, but most All-Star players don’t care whether they win or lose.
That is, after all, the point of professional sports.
The NFL prides itself on the blood, sweat and gridiron grit most players have when they step on the field. Fans love watching the hard hits as much as the players love delivering them.
The Pro Bowl, however, shows no grit because players believe they don’t have anything to play for. They aren’t going to give maximum effort for fear of injury. The only redeeming quality is that the games are generally tightly contested.
The NBA is no stranger to fast-paced moments and high-scoring offensive showcases – but defense tends to be non-existent in the All-Star game.
Last year, the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182. Clearly, both teams were allergic to defense.
Why? Because they’re simply not trying.
From 2010-2016, the East averaged 152 points per game while the West averaged 157 points per game. Beyond showing the dominance of the Western Conference, it further illustrates the point that no one is giving it all in these games.
Hell, most aren’t even giving a solid effort.
The NHL All-Star game is all over the place. For starters, they don’t have just one game, they have three of them.
Much like the NBA All-Star game, the NHL All-Star games are also filled with minimal effort on the defensive side, resulting in high scoring outcomes.
This might be inherently crowd pleasing on some level, but again, what’s the point?
That’s not to say that the All-Star games are a terrible idea – they’re good in theory. The NBA All-Star game is playing for respectable charities this year, and that is a silver lining.
But at the end of the day, these teams are playing for nothing and it shows. So my question is simple: what’s the point? And if there isn’t one, why are we even watching?
Header photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons