Read: Major League Baseball’s All-Star game reigns supreme

The 90th midsummer classic is underway tonight, reminding baseball fans they have the best all-star game in sports.



Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 07, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images/TNS)

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

Major League Baseball is all about tradition. A game will start with a ceremonial first pitch, the fans will stretch and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the middle of the seventh inning, and a home run hit by the opposing team will likely be thrown back into play by a disgusted hometown fan.

Along with these often overlooked parts of baseball culture is the annual MLB All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic comes around every year sparking great anticipation, and by the time the final out has been recorded, all those watching have been reminded of one thing: Baseball has the best All-Star Game among all professional sports.

And it is not particularly close.

The 90th edition of the MLB All-Star Game will take place June 9 in Cleveland, with first pitch scheduled for shortly after 7 p.m. The National League will face the American League and, thankfully, it no longer determines which league will have home-field advantage in the World Series.

Every team will have a player in attendance, a league mandate that some see as a gimmick, but in my opinion, it just adds to the atmosphere of the night. Each team has its best players in the same ballpark to do what they do best.

MLB has a superior All-Star Game, in large part becauseof the inadequacy of the games in other pro sports.

The NFL’s version of an all-star game — the Pro Bowl — has become borderline unwatchable. That is, if you wanted to watch a football game. It is understandable, though; football is a physical game, and no player wants to get injured in this type of game.

However, even the rules of the Pro Bowl take away from the heart of the game. Going in motion or shifting on offense is not allowed. Defenses must line up in a 4-3 formation and cannot blitz. There isn’t even a kicking aspect to the game anymore.

Basketball sees this in its all-star games as well; the NBA appears to try to make the game into the new dunk contest. It is entertaining, but 178-164 — the score of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game — is not “real” basketball.

That’s where baseball has the advantage. When fans sit down to watch the MLB All-Star Game, they are still, in fact, watching a baseball game. Save for more frequent pitching changes and player substitutions, the same rules are followed, and the same product is being produced, only with the game’s biggest stars.

But with baseball, the game’s biggest stars can fluctuate every year.

The NBA and WNBA have the problem of featuring the same athletes in the game every year. No matter how the season progresses, I know that I’m going to see LeBron James starting for his conference in the all-star game. I know that Stephen Curry is going to be there and probably James Harden and Anthony Davis, too.

Star power is an important thing in every sport, but it’s almost as though I’ve seen the same all-star game out of the NBA for the past decade.

It’s true that some of that happens in baseball with Mike Trout and Christian Yelich likely starting in the outfield for years to come. However, baseball presents more out-of-nowhere success stories such as Tommy La Stella or James McCann, both of whom were role players last year but earned All-Star nods this season.

The NHL has had numerous struggles in even consistently holding an all-star game, and when it does, the rules change frequently. Since 1995, the NHL game has been canceled four times, three of which are due to labor disputes. There have also been three instances of changes in the game’s format, which currently sits as a three-on-three tournament among the four division teams.

Baseball reigns supreme in the battle for the best All-Star Game because of its simplicity. It’s still a baseball game, only now with the best players in the sport, and it’s been that way for decades.

It’s a kid’s dream come true of getting to see an outfield pairing of Yelich and Cody Bellinger or an infield with Nolan Arenado throwing to Freddie Freeman. It’s the little things that keep the magic in the game, and it’s what makes baseball’s All-Star Game the best.