Just for the heck of it, I watched a couple of innings of the MLB All-Star game last night. I don't normally watch baseball, but this was in a bar, so I figured it was OK.
I used to be a huge baseball fan. That was due to my parents, who took me to my first Mets game when I was—I don't know, 5 or 6—and enabled my ensuing addiction with baseball cards and box scores. I knew the name of every Met by the time I was 7. The Mets were awful back then, in the mid-to-late '70s, but I stuck with them all the way through the 1986 World Series championship and through the death of the should-have-been dynasty. Around that time I got seriously into basketball, and when the strike/workstoppage/whatever killed the Series in, what, 1994?, I pretty much gave up on baseball for good.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa pulled me back in briefly, and I've been somewhat of a casual follower of the sport ever since. I don't really watch SportsCenter, so I don't see many highlights, but occasionally I'll flip on a game if it seems intriguing.
Which brings me back to the All-Star game. It's been long enough since I seriously paid attention that there are current All-Stars that I don't even know. And then there are guys like Roger Clemens, who will probably be pitching when he's old enough to start beaning his own K-named grandchildren. To be honest, I didn't pay all that much attention to the game, except for Clemens' 1-2-3 inning, and Dontrelle Willis getting shelled (which is too bad, because he's one of my favorite athletes). But there are a few things I don't get:
1) Giving the MVP a new Corvette: Back in the day, it made sense. Athletes weren't making as much money, and a new car was a pretty big thing. Now the guys are making tens of millions, and a new $50,000 Corvette (in eye-melting yellow, no less) is just a gift for the kids. Or a trade-in on a Hummer. Meanwhile, the big 3 are going bankrupt while still paying God-knows-how-much to sponsor the All-Star game. Oh well, at least it was in Detroit.
2) The whole "winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series" is just plain stupid. Seriously. I guess it's cool that it gives the game a little meaning, but essentially, one team gets rewarded in the end. Is there really a sense of League pride in who wins the Series? When the Red Sox won, were the Yankees happy for them because they're a fellow AL squad? Somehow I doubt it.