Baseball may still be a big business, maybe bigger than ever. Attendance may be better then ever. But in terms of what the game, and the stars who play it, and their place/standing in society today, it is not the same, it is diminished, and the All Star Game is a reminder of that, in how it has become more and more meaningless.
When I was a kid, in the early sixties, all my heros were baseball players, and that was true for all my friends as well. We had the baseball cards of all the top players. Of course the top player on your own team was a hero, like Banks, but so also the top players in the game on other teams, like McCovey, Perez, etc. We memorized the stats and info on the back of all the cards, and we traded them with the zeal and intensity and seriousness of Wall Street traders. Because those cards were among our most prized possesions
The All Star game was big, because the Baseball stars, heros, to most boys between 8 and 12, were big. Basketball was not a big sport yet, Football was becoming more popular, but it was more a mans game. Baseball was a Boys game, and a father and son game, and the top players were truely heros to the sons.
That was why the game was big and was watched. To see the Stars, the heros, you normally could not watch on your hometown TV because they were in another TV market, and to watch them all gathered together in one place, in one game, going up against each other. It was the biggest baseball event of the year for a 10 year old!
It was of course an exhibition game then too, and the players did not take the "actual game" all that seriously, though there was sort of this myth that the game was important to the players in terms of who won/lost, and as an 8 year old, I did believe that mythology. Now I know the All Star game was always more like pro wrestling. But it was a big game for the players for the national publicity, the hero worship, etc.
Today, I have an 8 year old, and he cares very little for baseball. Nor do his friends care. They don't have Baseball cards. None of the boys in his class have them. They have pokemon cards, dungeon dragon type, cards, etc. They have heros who are characters on video games, etc.
Times have changed. Baseball has changed. Steroids, huge money, 10+ games from across the country on DirecTV every night, the loss of heros for boys, and also for fathers still trying/wanting to believe the myth from their childhood.
Yea, the All Star game means very little any more. I have not watched it for over 30 years. I am sure the TV ratings are not good. But it is not because of Bud Light Selig, or Interleague play. It is because my son and millions more boys like him, don't care about baseball today, or about it's stars, the way my friends and I did 40+ years ago. Rock stars maybe. Video game and movie heros definitely.
but Albert Pujols? My son does not know who Albert Pujols is. And he does not care who he is.
That is why the All Star game is becoming meaningless.