No More Playing Around

The 2012 MLB All-Star Game decided which league would have home field advantage come the World Series in October.

Baseball spectators have one question that they are asking about the MLB All-Star game. Should an exhibition decide home field advantage in the World Series?

MLB is the only league that has this rule in place where the winning league of the All-Star game gets home field advantage in their championship series. This rule was enacted because of the 2002 All-Star game. The game went to 11 innings and both teams had run out of pitchers. Bud Selig then decided to end the game in a 7-7 tie. Fan reaction was negative to this result and Bud Selig and Major League Baseball decided after the 2002 All-Star game to change the rules. The All-Star game deciding home field was to make sure the MLB All-Star game mattered and never ended in a tie again.

This rule started being used in the 2003 All-Star game and was made a permanent rule after 2006. The American League won the first seven All-Star games and the National league has won the last two All-Star games since then. The team with home field advantage has won the past three World Series.

Home and away records for every sport are drastically different as most teams have a better record at home than they do playing away and baseball is no different. From 2006 to 2010 home teams had a winning percentage of .559 at home. In contrast, during that same period, baseball teams had a .449 winning percentage when playing away from home.

It is unfair to the players that a game in which fans get to choose the starters can determine who has home field in the World Series. There are others ways MLB could decide who gets home field rather than the winner of the All-Star game.

The obvious one would be which of the World Series teams has the better record in the regular season. Even deciding the team who has home field by the league who had a better record in interleague play would be a better way to decide it than using the exhibition to decide which league has home field advantage in the World Series.

If Major League Baseball is to keep the Midsummer Classic as the decider for which league gets home field advantage in the World Series, they need to change how players are selected to play in the game. The fans get to vote on the starters for each league, which would be okay if they game was just an exhibition, but as it now matters, they should change the selection process. It is more a popularity contest rather than which players actually deserve it based on their season’s performance.

Another thing about the All-Star game is that every team in MLB must be represented in the game, which means that a player on the Astros or the Mariners could decide which league gets home field advantage. That is not fair to the teams in the playoffs who play well in the regular season and make it to the World Series and then lose out on home field advantage, just because someone on a non-playoff team made their league lose an exhibition game.

I enjoy watching the All-Star game and the festivities that go with it, but from a fairness aspect, the All-Star game should be kept an exhibition, or MLB should change how the teams are made up if they want to make the All-Star game possibly decide who wins the World Series.

By C.J. Gardner, Jr. – cjgardner80@ou.edu

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