FODDER: Is baseball all-star game needed?

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Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Major League Baseball's all-star game is in jeopardy of becoming just another past-its-time entertainment entity like the circus, fireworks shows, parades and Monday Night Football. You watch them because they are tradition but 15 minutes into it you catch yourself wondering, "What was I thinking?' Baseball doesn't need the all-star game anymore. We see all of the players each and every night now on TV. The players would rather be out killing a deer somewhere or playing poker for 72 straight hours in Las Vegas. But, don't worry all-star game lovers, your game is not going anywhere. The all-star game, after all, is not a sporting event, it's a TV show, much like Thursday and Friday night college football. So get ready for that thrilling Tyler Clippard vs. Aaron Crow pitching matchup by the fifth inning.


The Home Run Contest is also losing its luster. Does anybody really need to see guys making $18 million a year belting 78-mile-an-hour fastballs over the fence? The contest needs something to juice up (literally) the festivities. Unfortunately, it's probably physically impossible to hit a ball 400 feet while jumping over the front hood of a Kia Optima while a choir signs "I Can Believe I Can Fly." But we have a better idea. But how about bringing back former home run hitting greats? Who wouldn't want to see a contest involving Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Frank Thomas, Jose Canseco, Reggie Jackson, Jeff Bagwell, Gary Sheffield and Albert Belle? They can still hit 78-mile-an-hour fastballs over the fence. And, hey, it would given them a reason to keep going to the gym (wink, wink).


John Mackey didn't play in New York or Boston and his career wasn't chronicled nightly on Sports Center. So his passing this week will probably be forgotten as quickly as that last hot dog and beer you gulped on Monday. But Mackey's passing should not be forgotten anytime soon. Mackey, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, suffered from dementia in his later years (he was only 69 when he died) and is yet another sad example of how many former NFL players spend their final years. The NFL needs to find a way to care for its former players. These players pay a huge price to play in the league. The least the league can do is to make sure these players enjoy their retirement with dignity.


Shannon Sharpe will be just the eighth tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. Mackey was the second. Sharpe needs to dedicate his entire speech to Mackey. Mackey paved the way for players like Sharpe (oversized wide receivers with the ability to stretch a defense) to have a career in the NFL as a tight end. Tight end is the most overlooked position by the Hall of Fame. A mediocre linebacker with a long career like Chris Hanburger is still more likely to get into Canton before a standout tight end. It wasn't until 1988 that Mike Ditka was the first tight end inducted in Canton. Hall of Fame worthy tight ends like Russ Francis, Todd Christensen, Mark Bavaro, Brent Jones and Jay Novacek are still outside looking in.


Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams sent a $76,000 engagement ring through to mail to his prospective bride, the 2009 Miss Texas Brooke Daniels. How romantic. It's not as exciting as opening up an offer through the mail from AT&T to bundle your internet, phone and TV service but it's not bad.

How can a girl turn down a proposal like that?

Well, she turned him down and now Williams is shocked that she hasn't mailed the ring back. Something tells me the Wunderlic intelligent test isn't weeding out all the morons heading to the NFL.


Why, exactly, does ESPN feel it's necessary to report the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4 as if it is a sporting event?

If shoving as much food as possible into your mouth in a 10-minute period was a sport, I'd have a plaque in Cooperstown. Yes, we know that competitive eating, much like the NCAA, has a governing body. And competitive eating, like the NFL and NBA, has its silly labor problems (see Takeru Kobayashi).

But, I'm sorry. Eating, like breathing and sleeping, is not a sport. And if the most strenuous thing you have to do during the competition is loosen your belt, well, you are not an athlete.


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