Walcoff: All-Star Game far from worth the money, time

Field-level box seats for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium are going for $725 each. That’s more than I paid for a ticket to this year’s Super Bowl.

Well, actually you can’t just purchase a ticket to the Midsummer Classic by itself, you have to buy the entire three-day strip for Sunday’s Futures Game and the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, plus Monday’s Home Run Derby, which will set you back $1,600. Save your money.

In the last 20 years, I have attended half a dozen All-Star Games and I’m still waiting for someone to thrill me the way Willie Mays, Pete Rose and Juan Marichal did.

Sadly, the most memorable All-Star moment I’ve witnessed was at Milwaukee in 2002, when Bud Selig called the game a 7-7 tie after 11 innings.

Both managers had run out of pitchers, so the commissioner sent everybody home to kiss their sister. I’ll never forget the fans’ outrage as they filed out of Miller Park chanting for a refund and booing Bud, the former Brewers owner. So much for homefield advantage.

Speaking of which, the very next year Selig, seeking to”re-energize” the game, came up with the lame-brain idea of granting the winning team homefield advantage in the World Series.

That was such a compelling incentive for Boston slugger David Ortiz that he left AT&T Park midway through last year’s All-Star Game, which the American League won 5-4, thereby enabling the Red Sox to open the World Series at Fenway Park. Actually, most players bolt before the game is over because baseball, in its infinite wisdom, doesn’t give the stars a break during the All-Star break.

The A’s lone representative, right-hander Justin Duchscherer, has to take a red-eye flight to New York after starting Sunday’s game at McAfee Coliseum. Of course, Duchscherer, like the GiantsTim Lincecum, who also pitches on Sunday, are both unlikely to see much action at all because of the schedule squeeze.

Simple solution: Back up the All-Star Game to Wednesday.

Another way to increase interest in this glorified exhibition: Allow players to re-enter the game. It’s virtually impossible to get all 32 players on each squad into the game under conventional rules, so why not have free substitution?

Imagine the managerial chess match in the final innings of a close game with so many big bats waiting to step up to the plate. Thankfully, this year’s game gets a late start so hitters won’t be battling those twilight (zone) shadows. When the game started early in Oakland in 1987, fans were forced to sit through a record 12 scoreless innings until the National League finally won it 2-0 in 13.

That may have been the most brutally boring game I’ve ever sat through.

Almost as brutal as the NL’s recent record against the AL.

The senior circuit hasn’t won an All-Star Game since 1996. There’s little reason to think they will end their drought this year. So, if you’re making out your fall baseball calendar, Game One of the World Series is Oct. 22, possibly back in Boston where the best seat in the house at last year’s Series cost much less.

Unlike the All-Star Game, that’s money well spent.

Rich Walcoff is the sports director at KGO Radio (810 AM) and can be heard weekdays between 5-9 a.m. on the “KGO Morning News.” He can also be reached at richwalcoff@abc-sf.com.

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