Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is one of the biggest moments of the sport’s regular season and is still the crown jewel of All-Star games.
And yet, MLB still can’t quite get the Midsummer Classic right, angering many fans.
Whether it is how the game is played or how the teams are constructed, fans either love the game or they hate it and often they do both.
On the next few pages we will take a look at why MLB’s showcase of its best players is still the best, and the worst, All-Star game.
In the NFL, nobody wants to get hurt. In the NHL and NBA, nobody wants to play defence. However, outside of the occasional Larry Walker batting right-handed because he was afraid to face Randy Johnson or both teams running out of pitchers, the action is often very typical of a regular baseball game with players giving near-maximum effort on both offence and on defence.
Bud Selig wanted to add interest to the All-Star game so homefield advantage in the World Series now goes to the league that wins the All-Star game. As far as the World Series goes, this is no better or worse than the old method of just alternating leagues. But now the managers of the All-Star game are more concerned about winning and that means some deserving players get left out because another player might be more important to the manager's strategy.
Fans want to see their favourite players in the All-Star game and they want to see their favourite team's uniforms. And as we have seen in the other sports (as well as MLB's home run derby), they don't hire All-Star designers for the special uniforms.
With replacements for injuries and pitchers that are unavailable to pitch, there have already been 77 players named to this year's All-Star teams. That is more than 10% of active rosters in baseball (750 players).
Ben Zobrist is one of the best players in baseball and gets almost no recognition. Since 2009, Zobrist is fifth among all position players with 26.3 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and yet this year will be just his second All-Star game. He is a manager's dream. He is a consistent hitter and in his career he has started a game at all seven positions other than catcher and pitcher. And he plays them all well.
The All-Star should be about showcasing baseball's biggest stars and no player was a bigger star in the first half than Yasiel Puig. Unfortunately too many people think he hasn't played enough games (37 of Dodgers' 95 games). So instead of people tuning into see what Puig can do on the big stage, fans won't tune in to see Brian McCann.
White Shoes in the All-Star game is a tradition that goes back to the 1970s. Not all players will wear white shoes, but many will. It is a subtle touch to the player's traditional uniform that lets the fans no this is a special occasion.
Unfortunately, white shoes are not the only unusual shoes seen during the All-Star game. Many players, such as Bryce Harper last year in gold shoes, will unveil colourful models to help promote their shoe endorsement company.
How many great moments can sports fan name from the NFL Pro Bowl or the NBA's and NHL's All-Star games? On the other hand, baseball's All-Star game has had many great moments that fans will always remember, such as Bo Jackson's home run to lead off the 1989 midsummer classic...
Long gone are the days when the biggest stars would play all nine innings in an All-Star game. Instead, fans will be lucky if Miguel Cabrera plays more than three innings.
Since 2011, the All-Star game has used the designated hitter in all All-Star games. Why? Because nobody wants to see the pitchers hit, something lost on the National League during the regular season.
How many times can baseball fans sit and watch another batting practice-level home run with Chris Berman screaming 'BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK!'? That doesn't mean baseball needs to get rid of the home run derby. But it needs to be shortened. ESPN can fill the extra time on television with a skills competition.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.