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All-Star Game hits a low

July 15, 2010 | 11:17 am

The midsummer classic has turned into the midsummer snooze.

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, played in Anaheim and broadcast on Fox, drew only 12.1 million viewers, its smallest audience ever. That was a 17% drop from the 2009 game, which averaged 14.6 million viewers. The previous record low was the 2005 game, which was played in Detroit and averaged 12.3 million viewers.

While the game, in which the National League beat the American League for the first time in 14 years, was hardly a thriller, the winner determines which league gets home-field advantage for the World Series.

But apparently that's not enough to generate fan interest. Part of the problem with the game is that since Major League Baseball introduced interleague play, the uniqueness of seeing the best of the leagues face off has been reduced. The game also usually starts after 8:30 p.m. on the East Coast, which some argue is too late for little kids to enjoy the entire game.

The last time the All-Star Game drew more than 20 million viewers was in 1995, according to Nielsen. Its biggest audience in recent history was the 1976 game in Philadelphia, which had more than 36 million viewers.

-- Joe Flint