4 reasons to watch the MLB All-Star game

The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw practices for the MLB All-Star game.
(Image credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Thankfully, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game no longer determines home field advantage in the World Series. While the competitive juices won't be flowing so strenuously as before, there are still plenty of reasons to tune in at 7:30 p.m. to watch the American League square off with the National League in Cleveland.

Youth movement — We get it. Football is still the most popular in the U.S. and the NBA dominates online culture. But America's national pastime has its own share of exciting young stars. The Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka, the New York Mets' Pete Alonso (who just won a thrilling Home Run Derby on Monday), the Los Angeles Dodgers' MVP candidate Cody Bellinger, and the Cincinnati Reds' Luis Castillo have taken the league by storm, and they'll be front and center on Tuesday evening. All told, Tuesday's game features 31 first-time participants, the most since 2016.

Familiar faces — There are still a lot of veterans holding down the fort, though. Clayton Kershaw has so far shown that the rumors of his demise were premature after an excellent first half for the Dodgers, while Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will start on the mound for the American League. They're both back for their eighth appearance.

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Underrated stars — The starting first basemen are two of the game's most underappreciated hitters. Atlanta's Freddie Freeman got the nod for the second consecutive year for the N.L. after quietly solidifying himself as one of the most fearsome sluggers in the league. For the A.L., the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana will get a chance to shine in front of the hometown crowd. An on-base machine, Santana is getting his first crack at the All-Star game far too late in his 11-year career.

No. 27 — There's also Mike Trout. The Los Angeles Angels center fielder is simply the best player in the world. If the other reasons didn't convince you, Trout alone should do the trick.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.