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Major League Baseball's All-Star Game; Losing Interest?

by Photo of Adam Cheshier

The All-Star Game has been one of sports’ longest traditions. But are fans growing weary of the event?

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game; Losing Interest?

Editor's Note: I think there are several things that baseball could do to make this game (and the weekend as a whole) more interesting. For starters, the game either has to be 100% serious if home-field advantage is on the line, or it should just be fun. It can't be both, especially with the distinct advantage of the rules in different leagues. Players should be allowed to be substituted back into games should the situation permit (especially if they were voted in). Hitting contests aside from just the Home Run Derby could be interesting, to test how well the All-Stars can hit to certain parts of the field. Either way the format has to be changed. - Ross

Since the first annual MLB All-Star Game was played in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, it has been one of the most entertaining days of the whole baseball season. Since then, it has developed into a whole weekend of entertainment with the annual Home Run Derby, the All-Star Futures Game, and the All-Star Celebrity Game all being played in the same weekend as the big game. But just how big is the game now-a-days?

Since 2001, the MLB All-Star game has not received television viewing ratings higher than 9.5 and the ratings have been on a steady decline since then. Last year's All-Star game at Citi Field recieved a rating of 6.9 on national television. These numbers are to be compared to 1967-1986 when television ratings for the MLB All-Star Game only dipped below a rating of 20.0 once. That's a difference in nearly 17 million viewers.

Is the decline in viewership due to the perception that baseball as a whole is a dying sport in America? Or is it the fact that the All-Star Game has become old news and the fans want something new?

In my opinion, Major League Baseball has no other option but to switch things up and try to make it a new game for the fans. If that means dropping tradition, then that's what the league has to do. Everyone saw what the NFL did with the 2014 Pro Bowl overhaul. It got positive feedback from the fans and saved what I think was a dying game for the National Football League. 

But Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is unique in that it is actually played for something, unlike any other sport in America. The winning league gets home-field advantage during that year's World Series.

So how does Major League Baseball gain viewership without losing its competitive edge?

For one, I think they need to put the right players into the game. I think the league is losing people's attention by having the same players in it year after year. What does that mean? It means they need to stop the fan voting and select the deserving players by using a committee. A player like Derek Jeter is a legend, and has deservedly earned more than a handful of All-Star appearances in his career. But if it is left up to the fans, Jeter will still be playing in the All-Star game thirty years after he retires.

That takes away from the deserving players who are having All-Star-caliber seasons. It also takes away from the competitive edge of the game. If the National League has the best shortstop in the league playing for them and the American League still has 72-year-old Derek Jeter playing, there's an obvious advantage to the National League (sorry for picking on Jeter, Jeter fans).

Major League Baseball needs to also capture fans' attention by adding something to entertain them, just as the NFL did (for some reason, neon jerseys captivate the fans). This is the first year that the players will be playing with customized All-Star ball caps, but will that be enough to capture the fans? I don't think so. I think they need to adjust the rules to the game of baseball; for the All-Star Game ONLY!

Home runs thrill the fans. Have managers select one batter due-up each inning, if that player homers, the amount of runs that score off of it is doubled. Or better yet, have fans vote via twitter which player that will be each inning. That keeps the game interactive after taking away the fans' right to vote players in. 

What other rule changes or changes to the All-Star Game as a whole do you think could captivate the fans' attention? Tweet me some of your ideas @adam_cheshier or @CHARGEDfm!

It's time for changes to be made for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game!

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