When the public tickets to the1969 All-Star Game at RFK Stadium went on sale, I took the day off from my summer construction job and stood in line for several hours at the box office, only to have the window closed with me third in line. I later got a pair of tickets from a business associate of my dad's, only to see the game rained out and played the next afternoon. Having already bailed on work once, I couldn't do it again, and ended up with two unused tickets, which I still have.
The All-Star Game was a pretty big deal to me then, and still was for many years after the Senators left town. Today, though, it just doesn't have quite same must-see appeal.
Oh, it's still the best All-Star Game in pro sports, hands down. But so many players - even some elected by fan vote - find a reason to back out of it. This year, 16 players have said, "Thanks, but no thanks," and have been replaced by others.
The whole concept of awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the winning league doesn't work for me, either. That was a mistake to begin with, a silly marketing ploy that the players hate and will try to eliminate in their next collective bargaining agreement.
I'm not sure what can be done to spice up the game, but I think the Home Run Derby has run its course. Changing the format of that affair to make it go no more than 90 minutes would be step No. 1, and you could speed up the affair by having someone call balls and strikes, so if you take a strike, it's an out. Just a thought.
There was a time when some players would go all nine innings in the All-Star Game, but I don't see a return to that. It would be nice if there was a heritage pick for each team, so that an aging star - regardless of the year he's having - could be on display for the fans. They did it years ago with Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle and nobody died.
I'll be watching the game at Chase Field tonight, but during the commercials, I may take a look at what else is on. I hope Tyler Clippard sees some action - I'm confident he'll get to face at least one hitter. As for the outcome - well, it is an exhibition game, isn't it?