Bob Haynie: All-Stars Play For Home Field Advantage, But Why?
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The 83rd MLB All-Star Game kicks off at 7:30 pm this evening. The game will showcase the league’s brightest young stars and accomplished and seasoned veterans in a spectacle that has gone from exhibition to “importance.” As decided by the commissioner after the game ended in a tie in 2002, the Midsummer classic winner will determine which league gets home field advantage in the World Series this fall. That’s a great incentive to prevent against ties, but it’s a ridiculous addition that has no place in the game.
The game is an exhibition; it’s title an accolade. How could it possibly make sense to make its victory “mean” something for the playoffs? For the first seven years after the tie-game in 2002, the American league won, and won home field advantage in the World Series for seven years straight. Before the tie of 2002, the American league won the previous five years. Had this rule been in place from 1963-1982, the National League would have owned home field advantage in October, winning 19 out of 20 All-star games. History has proven that the game is one of streaks; very lopsided streaks.
The Orioles are seven games back from the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball. Hypothetically, if the Yankees advance to the World Series, an American League victory in the All-Star game would give the Yankees an advantage in the Fall Classic. This would mean Jim Johnson, Matt Weiters, and Jim Johnson would be playing in an effort that essentially gives the Yankees an advantage in the end. Obviously, the same can be said about any rivalry within the game.
Home field advantage in the World Series shouldn’t be determined by the All Star game. End of discussion.