Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stars Were out, but Do We Care?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stars Were out, but Do We Care?

Article excerpt

The All-Star Game is baseball's summer showcase, devised to display the best of what the game has to offer, though what that is anymore has been lost amid the worst the game has to offer.

The American League's Frank Thomas contributed a timely reminder early in the 66th All-Star Game by hitting a two-run home run at The Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday night in the American League's 3-2 loss to the National League.

The big hurt won't go away. The pain inflicted by a game that followed the money trail into a morass from which it has been unable to extricate itself has not diminished and won't any time soon.

The All-Star Game on Tuesday night ought to have been the cornerstone of the healing process, if baseball had found a cure first.

It fulfilled that function 14 years earlier, in 1981, when it was the first game played at the conclusion of a two-month midseason strike and helped soften the scar tissue of anger that had formed.

Baseball's vital signs were stronger then. Now it is not necessarily accurate to proclaim the game still has a pulse, for that might imply that it has a heart. But it already has established its heartless nature to a legion of die-hard fans who have begun to discover the mortality of their love for the game.

If baseball does not officially qualify as a joke yet, it at least is the butt of one. In a "Tonight Show" skit on NBC television Monday night, Jay Leno portrayed Beyondo, the show's resident psychic.

"Who will be the winner of the All-Star Game tomorrow night on ABC?" Beyondo was asked.

"The other two networks," Beyondo replied.

ABC itself acknowledged diminishing interest in a sport once so uniquely American it came to be known as the national pastime. The subject of ABC's "Nightline" television show Tuesday night: "Will baseball fans ever forgive the national pastime?"

Consider how far baseball has come in the past 12 months: A year ago, the All-Star Game was played despite management-labor discord and a threat of a work stoppage. …

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