All-Star Game Could Offer MLB Blueprint In How To Better Promote Star Players
Some critics believe the MLB All-Star Game "lacked oomph" with World Series home-field advantage not at stake for the first time since '02, but the consensus of players was that they "liked having the emphasis back on the fun and personality of the stars," according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. An example of the success of the new format was the way social media "blew up" after Mariners DH Nelson Cruz took a picture at home plate with umpire Joe West. Cruz put the picture on Instagram, and the post had received "more than 59,000 likes" as of yesterday afternoon. Twitter also "ate it up and so did" players in the game (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/13). In N.Y., John Harper writes MLB had a "great couple of days in Miami, especially in showcasing some of its spectacular young talent." The best moment of Tuesday's game was Cruz' photo opp. With the game not holding postseason stakes anymore, it "felt like we got to know the players a little better." MLB "needs that as much as it needs more action in this era dominated by strikeouts, walks and home runs." The league also needs to continue to "humanize its best players, somehow try to make them as cool as fans seem to perceive NBA and NFL players." Nationals RF Bryce Harper "came off as more likeable than his reputation" when Fox' Joe Buck interviewed him as he played right field. Harper sounded "like your average football fan at one point" when he asked Buck about Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/13).
A FUN NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he thought the All-Star Game was a "really good baseball game," as the players "played hard" despite it being a pure exhibition. He said, "If you looked at the end of the game, the players were up on the step of the dugout, they were in to it. By the same token, the elimination of the home-field advantage rule allowed us to do some things in the game that I think were really fun, innovative and interesting for our fans" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 7/13). In DC, Deron Snyder writes MLB "could use more levity" like Cruz' antics when it reaches the All-Star break. Snyder: "More players miked in the field and more dugout interviews. More bat flips, hair flips and/or back flips." Like Cruz' picture with West, they "provide entertainment value but only occur when the atmosphere is loose" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/13).
THE GOOD & THE BAD: In Miami, Clark Spencer notes "not quite 75,000 fans turned out to Marlins Park to see Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star Game, with countless others showing up for Sunday’s Futures Game and FanFest activities." Marlins President David Samson said, "The goal of All-Star Week was to have an economic impact in our community and provide memories for fans of baseball of all ages, and I’m pretty sure we were successful in that regard." Some events, most notably MLB’s Red Carpet Show in downtown Miami on Tuesday, "didn’t seem to generate much interest." The turnout along the parade route "was sparse." There also were "numerous complaints about long lines and slow-moving traffic getting into and out of Marlins Park, especially after the Home Run Derby" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/13).