Sunday Review: The All-Star Game Awakens The Fan In All Of Us

Untitled-2Growing up, All-Star weekend was always one of my favorite events in the summer. Back then, before baseball came to Washington D.C., I was a box score hound. I loved baseball with a passion, I loved newspapers, and I loved checking in to see how all players across the league were doing night in and night out.

Opening up the Washington Post to the sports section became a pre-school ritual for me. I’d comb the box scores to see how many home runs Mark McGwire picked up, how many strikeouts Pedro Martinez had the night before, and how the ever-enchanting pennant race in the American League East was playing out.

About my junior year of high school my family opted to stop getting the daily version of the WaPo and instead subscribed to just the Sunday Edition. It made sense logistically; 90% of the news we read we saw online and seeing that stack of papers in our den reminded us of how much of a waste of paper the print edition really is.

Still, there’s something that just isn’t the same as looking through the box scores in a paper compared to going online and getting updated. There are too many pages to open and box scores are slowly replaced with game recaps or game tracking pages. Eventually once the Washington Nationals came to town, and even more so after I began this site, I found myself frequently only checking how the Nationals did the night before in the name of time and efficiency.

I was no longer a fan of baseball as a whole; I had become a Nationals specialist.

As I watched the events of All-Star weekend this previous week, I was taken aback by how few players, particularly in the American League, I actually knew. Sure there was the old guard like David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Hamilton, but I found it really amazing that I had no knowledge of pitchers like Jordan Walden, or Chris Perez.

I realized that the All-Star game had in effect completely changed for me. When I was a kid I watched it because I wanted to see all these stars I knew so well through the box scores, face up against each other. Now I watch the All-Star game to find out who the best players are in a league that has become disturbingly foreign to me.

Ironically, in the age of information I have become less and less informed. While I know more about the Nationals than most fans ever could imagine, strictly following the beat day-in and day-out, the convenience of only ingesting Nats news has made me more ignorant to the game as whole.

Some argue today that the All-Star game has lost its luster with the onset of interleague play, because it used to create matchups you would never get the chance to see. I would agree that interleague play has in fact cheapened those matchups, but for me the All-Star game is still alive and well because it has the ability to introduce us to new stars, as well as help us reconnect with ones from the past.

Sunday Review will be a new weekly post from Will Yoder in which he puts perspective on the past week in the world of baseball.