When it comes to All Star weekends, no one does it better than baseball.
Unfortunately, this is due more to a lack of entertainment from the All Star events of other sports rather than MLB’s progressive events that lead up to and involve the All Star Game. There’s the Home Run Derby, of course, showcasing the most popular activity in any baseball game: hitting the ball really, really far. In a close second when it comes to featuring the best that basketball has to offer, the NBA features the Slam Dunk Contest to add to the basic East versus West game. The NHL features a general hockey skills competition to caddy their All Star game, and the NFL brings up the rear with just the Pro Bowl that no player really wants to play in.
Baseball has kept above the curve in other ways. Besides the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, which is really just MTV’s Rock N’ Jock 2.0, the All Star Game itself has World Series implications in order to get the players that have a shot to make the World Series play just a little bit harder for the three innings that they will be taking the field for. They’ve also tweaked, yet again, the format for the Home Run Derby after lagging television ratings in 2014. So what else can they do?
I think it’s simple: bring on the mascots. Think of it: two teams of baseball mascots doing their best to stay upright, nevermind hit and throw, in three to five inning of sheer ridiculousness. When haven’t you at least smiled when a mascot tries to do normal, people things? Why not take that step from normal, people things to professional sports things? The NBA got it right when that had slam dunk contests with their mascots, no matter what Julis Irvings says. It’s the sort of fun that All Star weekends are about. It’s a celebration as well as entertainment.