All-Star Festivities need Some More Flair

Last night, the MLB had their annual All-star home run derby, where some of the best hitters in baseball try to hit as many home runs as they can off of batting practice pitchers.

This event gains more and more attention every year, especially after Bobby Abreu hit 23 Hrs in one round last year. This year The Angel’s Vladimir Guerrero won the event by hitting a total of 21 home runs through 3 rounds.

Last nights event showcased some of this years best sluggers, such as Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Detroit’s Maglio Ordonez, and St. Louis’ Albert Pujols. However big name sluggers such as Ken Griffey Jr. Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, as well as a host of others did not compete. Although for many of these guys it was because they have to play in the All-Star game tonight, and despite its appearance, the home run derby can be quite taxing on a players body if they get on a roll and start belting 10-15 dingers in a row. But still the guys who competed last night are some of the best in the league and they did not disappoint.

Although the event was a little drawn out, I believe it went well, and I enjoyed the commentary done by ESPN’s Chris Berman, along with Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, and former player/coach Dusty Baker.

The most interesting thing about this event was that the stadium in San Francisco was absolutely full, and Berman pointed out that tickets for this event were costing around $175. This event has indeed turned into a spectacle.

This got me wondering why the NBA hasn’t tried to do the same thing with their annual pre All-star festivity, the Slam Dunk Contest. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the slam dunk contest featured the best dunkers in the NBA, giving it their all to perform in front of a sellout crowd. Every year there was great competition: Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, and even 5’6 Spud Webb.

Since superstar Vince Carter Dazzled us in the early 2000’s with his amazing through the legs windmill slam, no hoopster of superstar caliber has been a part of the slam-dunk contest. The field has even been scaled down from 8 guys to 4. I know that I would, any minute of any day of the week, would much rather watch a slam dunk contest than a home run derby.

Since Lebron James has been in the NBA, the league has tried to get him to compete in the dunk contest every year, but he declines, in order to prepare for the all-star game the next night. It is the same with most of the big name players, however, in the MLB, when the big name players decline, there still is a large group of superstars that are eager to compete. I feel like that is not the case at all in the NBA.

The NBA would be wise to get rid of all their other sideshow attractions such as the skillz competition and the other shooting competition featuring a member of a NBA team, WNBA team and hall of Famer from that city competing on the same team. The League should really only have 2 events prior to the game. The three point contest and the dunk contest.

The 3-point contest was stacked last year, but the dunk contest needs to be the marquee. Some how, some way, the NBA needs to get the big name guys: Kobe, LeBron, Kevin Durant, Vince Carter, as well as other superstars like Jason Richardson, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson as well as others.

The NBA needs to realize that the Dunk Contest can be even bigger than the actual all-star game, if they capitalize on this, the way MLB did after they had Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa in the contest in the same year, then maybe the NBA could start to bring the fans back to the games, which, if you have watched a fair amount of regular season games on TV, you can tell, attendance is low.

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One Response

  1. TMach, can I ask where you work as your day job?

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