One of my least favorite All-Star Game traditions is eulogizing the All-Star Game. Apparently, the All-Star Game used to be the awesomest thing that ever awesomed, and now it is the suckiest thing that ever sucked. Thom Loverro's lamentation of the decline of the Mid-Summer Classic in the Atlantic website yesterday places the blame in a rather odd spot, saying, "If you're not happy with the state of baseball's All-Star Game, blame it on Baltimore."
First of all, that is the stupidest thing I have ever read, and I've read positive reviews of Sharknado. Loverro calls out the 1993 All Star Game at Camden Yards as the beginning of the end, and he might have blamed the right game, but laying this on the feet of Fair Baltimore is an injustice to rival the original Cito Gaston slight.
Back in 1993, two-year-old Camden Yards was making its debut on the national stage, and Baltimore went all out to show off the new park. With all eyes here, Cito Gaston, the Blue Jays manager, who was already hated in these parts, leveled a fairly mighty snub at the rest of the AL chosing roughly 70 Blue Jays (Or 4 on top of the 7 that were voted in) and picked only Mike Mussina to join Cal Ripken representing the home town. OK, that's fine. Kinda dickish, but fine. The problem was he didn't bring in Moose, despite the American League being up 9-3 in the 9th and B-More went B-listic. Now, fearful of being villainized in the same way, managers make an effort to play everyone, leading to the tie in the 2003 All-Star game when both clubs ran out of pitchers. So yeah, I see the connection, but don't blame this one on Baltimore. Gaston could have and absolutely should have brought in the young Mike Mussina, and the fans were rightfully pissed. But if that game had been close, 3-2 or something, no one would have booed. They'd have understood. So maybe the 1993 game was the beginning of the end. Or maybe, and more likely, the game was never that big a deal when you're not 12, and there are a lot more factors at work, like interleague play, steroids, and the threat of a sharknado. But if that was the beginning of the end, put the blame on Gaston. If he'd been a decent dude, none of this would have happened.