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All-Star matchups different animals in professional sports

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The All-Star process when it comes to this country’s four major professional sports leagues is far from an exact science.

Executives within football, basketball, baseball and hockey all take their own approach, cross their fingers and hope to the heavens above people find the combination of bells and whistles captivating enough to tune in.

The NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League all are guilty of tweaking, adding, subtracting and modifying at various points. Some more than others.

They pull whatever strings necessary in an effort to keep our undivided attention against the winds of continued societal change. That tends to be difficult for games having no possible significance aside from a small degree of individual and territorial pride.

It would be difficult to rank the present-day setups of the All-Star gatherings simply because professional hockey isn’t regarded as mainstream as the other three sports.

That’s code for I’ve never watched an NHL All-Star Game (love and respect the sport, but prefer to watch hockey in person).

We are a football nation. Admittedly. Yet somehow the Pro Bowl began hemorrhaging relevance a couple of decades ago.

I applaud the NFL for overhauling the process this season, but using shameless limelight seekers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders as designated team captains at times made for nauseating television.

I thought baseball’s decision to determine home-field advantage in the World Series based on that season’s All-Star Game result was absolutely brilliant. Suddenly, the final score mattered again.

Unfortunately this approach only gave MLB fans reason No. 2,736 to despise commissioner Bud Selig.

For those keeping score, Selig now has been blamed for global warming, President Barack Obama’s unorthodox shooting form in basketball, the demise of most of the prominent Kennedys, “Hoosiers” not winning an Academy Award and the decline of the bison population in the United States.

The Home Run Derby started in 1985 literally added pop to the All-Star festivities. That, too, has been changed many times over.

As for the NBA’s yearly showcase, it takes place in New Orleans this weekend with Friday’s All-Star Celebrity Game starting what will be a run of competitions.

Our something-for-everyone paranoia has included a Rising Stars Challenge, D-League All-Star Game, Skills Challenge and so on.

The Indiana Pacers aren’t showcased until Sunday night’s All-Star Game with coach Frank Vogel leading an Eastern Conference roster that includes Pacers starters Paul George and Roy Hibbert.

Maybe that’s the key to All-Star Game success. Simple geography. My favorite NBA franchise is going to be well represented, which means I’ll be tuning in.

Go figure.

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