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All Star Game

I’m not a huge All-Star game fan. I appreciate what the contest used to be back when Hall of Famers played half or more of the game and they went all out in an effort to win for their league.

I’m less a fan these days when the bigger emphasis is on glitz and making sure almost everyone has an opportunity to play. There’s even been talk from Adam Wainwright that he grooved the first inning pitch that Derek Jeter lined for a double – much like the talk that the pitch Cal Ripken hit out of the yard against Chan Ho Park in the 2001 game was soft-tossed.

That wouldn’t have happened in the old days. Continue reading

Hello again Brushback faithful! It’s only been a few weeks since my Max Scherzer piece, but it feels thrice as long given the extent of things packed into my college graduation summer. And trust me, I’m not saying that with any complaint. In addition to a whole bevy of personal projects that of course includes this site, I’ve completed the first chapter of the book I’m writing for the Sacramento Historical Society about the history of baseball in my city. In a poignant end to that first step, I spent all night into the wee hours of the morning wrapping up this chapter, an assiduous approach that recalled my many all-nighters spent working on papers in college. (To further cement the moment, I wrote to the music of Kid Creole and the Coconuts on infinite loop just as I had in the same finals that Max Scherzer inspired me through.)

As I spent the weekend in Yosemite National Park immediately after the chapter was submitted to my boss, I was understandably feeling pretty triumphant. These good vibes led to a humorous train of thought about how my successes in baseball writing are the closest I’ll come to achieving glory in the national pastime. I may never turn on a fastball for a legendary game-winning home run, or pitch a perfect game, but hell: Why can’t we baseball writers receive some love too?

How about a great baseball movie of the “Moneyball”/”61*” ilk to chronicle our struggles and triumphs? I envision a tense scene of the writer at his laptop, struggling to come up with the right word. He types and erases a couple in frustration, just like a batter swinging and missing pathetically at the first two strikes. But then, he digs in and focuses on that next word even harder. “The Natural”-style music cues up, and in slow motion he types out the perfect word. The announcer intones: “Holy cow, what an adjective!” OK…not exactly stirring stuff, but allow me a little indulgence over my accomplishments here! None of my teams have won a World Series since we all had mullets and George Bush Sr. was in one of the two highest offices in the land, so I’ll celebrate my little victories as I please. Continue reading

Seems like no matter how hard Commissioner Bud Selig tries to build interest in the Major League Baseball All Star game he still comes up short.

There was a lot of hype leading up to the game this year, with debate over whether Omar Infante belonged in the game and whether rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg got screwed when he was left out.

But at the end of the day, despite all the hoopla, the game’s broadcast produced the lowest television ratings in history. Back in the mid-1960s and 1970s, the game used to produce ratings scores in the mid 20s and share ratings in the mid-50s.

(A ratings point represents one percent of the total households in the United States watching a given show. Share measures the percentage of television sets in use tuned into a program. So 20-plus percent of households with televisions used to watch the All Star Game and more than half of the televisions in use during the game were watching it.)

In 2002, the All Star game slipped to single-digit ratings for the first time and those figures have not returned to double digits in the years since. Tuesday’s game, according to the Los Angeles Times, drew just a 7.5 rating for a paltry 12 million average viewers. Continue reading

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