PITTSBURGH - What if Major League Baseball threw an all-star game and no one came?
It seems like it's getting close to that scenario with all the refusals associated with this year's game.
They told Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia a week in advance that he was on the stand-by list for a spot on the team.
They got enough cancellations that Correia got his invitation and became the third Pirates player to make the team. Originally, there was just one, closer Joel Hanrahan.
The good thing about that is the selection still means something to first-timers like Correia, Hanrahan and Andrew McCutchen.
It seems to mean little to those who have made the trip before, which is why they feel so comfortable sending their regrets.
The All-Star Game has evolved, and not for the better.
Once there was a genuine rivalry between the American and National Leagues. Before free agency, players - especially stars - remained with their teams.
Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Al Kaline, Brooks Robinson were American Leaguers.
The National Leaguers were Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.
When an All-Star was traded from league to another, it was big news. Frank Robinson and Jim Bunning were among the Hall of Famers who made that move.
Today, players move freely. There are inter-league games every year.
Those dream match-ups that could happen only in a World Series or an All-Star game before might happen now in a Wednesday game in June now, thanks to inter-league scheduling.
Baseball has changed. In some ways, it's much better. But the All-Star Game has certainly been diluted.
Now the Monday home run contest might be a bigger deal than the game. People are interested in oohing and aahing as batting practice lobs disappear into the stands.
Even though MLB has tied home field advantage in the World Series to the All-Star result, no one seems to care.
The New York Yankees, a pretty good bet to reach the Series, are the ones skipping the All-Star Game.
MLB tries to dress it up with gimmicks and special TV angles, but it's mostly a snooze. Usually the ratings reflect that.
If some of the best players don't care enough to show up, why should anyone care about watching it?
Mehno can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.