The MLB will put on this year's All-Star Game on Tuesday. Unlike the other three All-Star games, hosted by the NBA, NHL and NFL, the MLB All-Star game has retained its unique character. The event has stayed true to tradition; since the very first All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933, some rules have changed but the essence of the contest has remained constant. It is a scrimmage played by baseball's most talented stars, dueling to crown their respective divisions.
The MLB All-Star game is a competition between two teams from the National League and American League. The biggest difference between the two leagues is that the National League has no designated hitter, so the pitcher is given an alternate role in the batting linenup.
The biggest difference separating the MLB All-Star game from other similar competitions is the fact that the outcome of the competition is significant for the players involved. The winner of the contest, either the National League team or the American League team, is given home field advantage during the World Series, which is a competition between the two best teams from each league.
The NBA, NFL and NHL All-Star games are opportunities for the players to flaunt their talents without much of a regard for the game's result. As a result, individual talents shine over team cooperation. On the other hand, players in the MLB All-Star game have a cause to compete for, which raises the level of competition.
Secondly, the baseball season is significantly longer than the other pro-sport seasons; a regular season schedule contains 162 games. Therefore, the MLB All-Star game, dubbed the "Midsummer Classic" serves the important function of giving the players much-needed rest and recuperation time. The competition allows MLB players the chance to enter the remainder of the season refreshed and ready for competition.
Another big difference between the MLB All-Star game and the three other All-Star games is the level of involvement by fans. Fans are invested in the game because they are responsible for selecting the MLB players who compete, which is reflected in the TV audience numbers. For instance, even when the televised event brought in its lowest ratings in history in 2010, a mere 7.5%, that rating was "still nearly double the NBA's 2010 ratings of 3.8 percent."
Recently, the selection of the All-Stars has been revolutionized by social media. The recent trend has been to garner votes for a fan's favorite player using the power of the hashtag. For example #voteforhighsocks was a Twitter campaign launched to promote Yankees' Pitcher David Robertson a spot on the roster.
In addition to using twitter, the vote for MLB all-stars is an interactive event for fans who attend MLB games. Upon entering a stadium, fans punch holes in ballot cards and place them in boxes in order to vote for their favorite players. The competition and outcome of the MLB All-Star game is, therefore, truly up to the fans.
The All-Star game also contains the Homerun Derby, which compartmentalizes every baseball fan's favorite aspects of the sport — the longball. Similar to the NBA slam-drunk contest, the home run derby is the chance for fans to watch their favorite sluggers showcase their talent and stregnth.
Baseball is, after all, America's sport and favorite past time. And the MLB All-Star competition, which takes place in the middle of the summer and garners a massive fan-base, is a testament to America's love of the game.