ESPN is just fine with a three-hour Home Run Derby. After all, it gets to televise the proceedings. But the All-Star Game itself? Well, that’s FOX’s baby and that makes it fair game for the worldwide leader.
Jerry Crasnick’s piece on all of the stars skipping the game is currently leading the big features box on ESPN.com, with Crasnick spewing lines like the following: “big names bailing by the hour for Bahamas vacations, family cookouts or orthopedic consultations.” This comes two days after Buster Olney proposed the solution that players should decide in spring training whether to opt off the All-Star ballot.
It’s a shame, because Crasnick is better than this. There were three healthy players across both leagues who had the chance to go to the All-Star Game and pulled out: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Aramis Ramirez. Rivera missed time last week with a strained triceps, and while he was back pitching over the weekend, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to save his bullets. Ramirez would have been a last-minute injury replacement, but he had already made plans for the break and decided to follow through on them.
So, really, as usual, this all boils down to Jeter.
And doesn’t Jeter deserve a free pass just this once? This is the first time in 12 All-Star selections that he’s skipped the game. Between all of the postseason appearances, the All-Star appearances and off-the-field obligations, Jeter has had less time off between the months of February and October than any player in baseball these last 15 years. Let him have his little break.
Midsummer Mirage? All-Stars deserted this year’s Classic in droves? All-Star Game feeling snubbed? All-Star Game getting the cold shoulder? Players backing out of Midsummer Classic threatens showcase event for baseball?
It’s all just propaganda because ESPN would rather you watch it than FOX tonight.