I am sure I have ragged on often enough about how absolutely silly I believe All Star Games are.
Further, I feel the same about awards programs, be they the totally conjured American Music Awards, or the somewhat weighted Academy Awards, or even the more on the level Screen Actors Guild program, which coincidentally happened to play Sunday past opposite much of the Pro Bowl, the NFL's attempt to generate interest in nothing during the week between the end of the league championship game and the Super Bowl.
As for me, I tried to decide if "Snapped," on Oxygen, or "48 Hours" in TruID TV was of more interest because most of the movies on HBO, like Gladiator and Back to the Future I have seen so many times they are even duller than the Pro Bowl or the Screen Actors Guild show.
In fairness, I have attended the baseball All Star Game not once, but twice, and more than got my money's worth. The first was the 1967 game in Anaheim, an affair that lasted 15 glorious innings, at the time one for each year I had survived on the planet. That was a game with Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Juan Marichal, and Don Drysdale on the National League side, and Rod Carew, Mickey Mantle, and both Frank and Brooks Robinson which I suppose pretty much defined "storied." Not to mention Harmon Killebrew, Carl Yastrzemski, Catfish Hunter, Lou Brock, Orlando Cepada, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver, Tony Perez, and Roberto Clemente were also there, meaning 20 Hall of Famers were on the field at one time or another.
Twenty years later, when the mid-season "classic" was in Oakland, I again had tickets, and the game again went extras, this time with the NL winning in 13, 2-0. And, maybe as a reflection of expansion watering down talent, the number of true stars--at least those who made the Hall--dropped a lot with Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandburg, and Andre Dawson being the prime characters.
Truth is I did have a good time at both, and though I never vote for the All Stars, of all the sport exhibitions, it is the most viable to me, especially since the outcome decides home field advantage for the coming season's World Series.
But, for the most part, aside from the Ray Fosse/Pete Rose collision, at least the baseball game has been largely injury free.
As neither a basketball nor hockey junkie, I cannot really speak to the validity of either game, though one of the problems with All Star games is it throws a group of players who generally don't perform as a unit into a situation where they must. Meaning mistakes will occur, or simple plays or both.
And, though it is fun certainly to see our favorite stars, just like it is fun to see actors and actresses and directors, usually these fetes disappoint.
But, none to me is more pathetic than the Pro Bowl.
To start, football arguably involves the most complex play set ups of any sport, so, simply throwing a cluster of players together for a week and as noted giving them ten simple plays does not necessarily allow the participants to really show what they can do.
Second, though, and more important, if there is a game that begs injury, it is football. For, I cannot count the number of times I have heard players simply say they try to hit as hard as they can when blocking or tackling. And, that is fine with me: that is the game and risks involved.
But, for the sake of exhibition, risking a player or career seems stupid to me.
Worse, holding the game the week before the Super Bowl might make sense as far as keeping up fan interest, but, none of the Super Bowl nominated players particpates anyway. Which does make sense, but it also sort of casts a pall on the notion of "All Star" (not to mention, what kind of All Star team does the NFC have when Victor Cruz is not a member, whether he plays or not?).
Now, I did see that the final score of the 2011 Pro Bowl was 59-41, with the AFC putting up 21 fourth quarter points to six by the NFC, and even I have to admit that 100 points in some kind of NFL contest is spectacular.
Still, I don't wish that I had watched. I am saving up my excitement for this coming Sunday instead.