May 9, 2018 – In a move sure to send shockwaves through the sports entertainment world, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced early Wednesday that this year baseball fans will be treated to not one, but two All-Star Games. The first, on July 17th, will be the regularly scheduled and 89th annual Major League All Star Game, featuring a showdown between the best players from the National and American leagues. This newly announced second game will be the first of it’s kind, featuring what Commissioner Manfred described as “the strongest, the fastest, the greatest players of all time.” The second game will take place a day later, on Wednesday, July 18th.
While the Commissioner’s statements on this new All-Star game may have been vague, the name of the event has left little doubt about what he meant. Clearly referencing the promotion’s checkered past, Manfred announced that this new spectacle will be called The ENHANCED All Star Game. While baseball struggles to hold younger viewers attention in the smartphone era, Manfred has been seeking various ways to create a more compelling product for fans. Implementing rule changes this year to help speed up the pace of the game has helped, but his idea to end extra innings games with a Home Run Derby was scoffed at by purists and ultimately shot down. With more promotions confronting controversial issues — the NBA recently embraced gambling — it looks like Manfred’s idea is to embrace baseball’s biggest dark side: “performance enhanced” players.
The MLB was plagued with allegations of players using banned substances throughout the 2000s and into the 2010s, eventually engulfing some of their top draws in players like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. While the promotion has implemented a rigorous anti-doping testing policy, the issue has far from faded. With many of these top stars still marked by these allegations, the MLB has had a hard time finding a way to highlight these former stars. Instead of trying to downplay it any longer, it would appear Manfred has come up with a way to continue to feature these players in a way that “preserves the integrity of the product” while allowing the fans to enjoying watching these juiced up ball players launch dingers 600 feet.
For more on the story, uncovering Sports was able to secure an exclusive interview with the Commissioner on this week’s episode of the Uncovering Sports podcast, to discuss the Enhanced All Star Game.
We’ll be following this Enhanced All Star game with exclusive coverage all the way to the big day, so be sure to tune in to Uncovering Sports for the latest updates on the Enhanced All Star Game!