The gig ended a couple of months ago, eradicating any conflict of interest I had in covering News Corp., since I’m no longer being paid by one of its subsidiaries. And while there are parts of the relationship I’ll miss, one aspect I really won’t is having to pay attention to — much less watch in their entirety — professional all-star games.
All-star games once meant something — perhaps especially in baseball when the likes of Hank Aaron and Willie Mays played — but now they’re just a big fat waste of time. And while the leagues have gotten creative in trying to make them interesting, if not important, with all sorts of creative gimmickry, that job would ultimately be too tall for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar standing on Shaquille O’Neal’s shoulders.
The NFL’s Pro Bowl is basically a game of bean-bag by normal football standards, the NBA All-Star Game is a tribute to how well players can shoot in practice (i.e. without being inconvenienced by defense), and baseball’s “midsummer classic” is a snooze, even after the league tried to make the game count by tethering victory to home-field advantage in the World Series.
The world would be better off if everyone agreed to do away with them — maybe settle for a TV special featuring skill challenges, where nobody needs to worry about getting hurt and endangering a nine-figure contract — but as we all know, there’s never going to be less of anything on television, especially sports, ever again.
The bottom line is with apologies to Fox, you won’t find me watching this year’s All-Star Game on Tuesday night, because I have something much more important to do. I just haven’t decided what that is yet.