Long before it was drawn out to be a non-stop ratings bonanza where the "game counts," the Mid-Summer Classic was the highlight of my summer.
The All-Star game still carried some weight to it, riddled with players who should be Hall of Famers in my book. And the Home Run Derby was the crown jewel, with some of the strongest sluggers (natural or otherwise) the game will ever see clobbering 500 ft homers with ease.
Don't kid yourself. Regardless of your current stance on 90's players and PED's, everybody loved seeing Big Mac's assault on the Green Monster in '99, or Junior letting majestic rainbows fly in Coors. Nobody angrily changed the channel, screaming "these guys are cheaters!"
For the first time I can remember, I missed the HR Derby last night. The format feels even more abbreviated for an event that is already made for tv. And the players? Sure, there are good hitters. Even some great hitters. But it's a far cry from seeing the strongest players in the game slug it out. When Mike Piazza puts up a goose egg in the HR Derby, we laugh it off. When Brian Dozier is out there, it's a little less exciting.