They are finally here. After weeks of television commercials, magazine ads, fan voting and campaigning - not to mention replacement selections and replacements of the replacements - the All-Star festivities are finally here. One would not expect an exhibition game to drum up so much discussion, but that is far from the case.
One of the most popular topics of discussion among baseball fans is National League vs. American League. Baseball is unique because you will find more fans (compared to the NBA and NFL) who will root for a particular league simply because they prefer it's style of play. John Paul Morosi helps fuel this debate when he breaks down the AL and NL rosters.
The second largest buzz is quite possibly created by All-Star snub discussion. There are always multiple players who are more than deserving of an All-Star selection - or even a start in some cases - that get left off. It's part of the game and it should be considered a good thing that there is so much talent in the game - although some would argue that the system needs to be fixed. Morosi also discusses a player that was almost left off of the All-Star roster but found his way on at the last minute.You can't talk about the All-Star Game without mentioning the Home Run Derby. Buster Olney tells us why Jose Bautista (my personal pick to win tonight) has everything that he needs to wrestle the Home Run Derby championship trophy away from David Ortiz this season.
Meanwhile, Max Kaplan of AccuScore.com presents evidence that suggests that the Home Run Derby is an event that players should stay away from. He cites the - sometimes dramatic - drop in slugging percentage from the first half to the second among certain participants. He makes a point, but some of the players mentioned were slugging .600-.700 in the first half - figures that were likely to decline with or without the derby.
Before I sign off, I will provide Major League Baseball with some of my own "expert" analysis: This game shouldn't count! If it ends in a tie, it ends in a tie. America will get over it.