Only the MLB would turn a meaningless exhibition game into an edge in the most important series of the season.
In the 2012 All-Star Game, the National League defeated the American League for the third straight year. They took advantage of their home-field advantage the past two World Series. This October, they’ll be in position to do it once again—despite the downright absurdity of the entire situation.
Last season, the Texas Rangers finished the regular season with a record of 96-66. They won the AL West with a 10-game cushion and were tied for the third-best record in all of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, just snuck into the playoffs via the Wild Card at 90-72.
Both teams fought their way to the World Series. But even though the Rangers pieced together a superior regular season campaign to the Cardinals, St. Louis boasted home-field advantage, and they took full advantage of it. They used their edge to claw back from a 3-2 series deficit to win the final two contests and the title at Busch Stadium.
Texas was the better team. But thanks to a loss in an exhibition game, their efforts will forever be forgotten.
Jeff Bradley of The Star-Ledger reported that commissioner Bud Selig attempted to defend making the exhibition game affect the outcome of the championship. He said:
I had two people, Henry Aaron and (the late) Ron Santo, who said you have to get meaning back in the game. Is it perfect? There’s no perfect solution. But you take a game that’s clearly the best of the All-Star Games and give it some meaning. You watch these dugouts, the players all care.
There is a perfect solution, Selig. It’s called giving home-field advantage to the team with the better regular season record.
Get ready for this mind-blowing phenomenon: rewarding the winner of the All-Star Game with the edge increases the meaning of a single game. Rewarding the ballclub with the better regular season record increases the meaning of 162 games.
Allowing a random assortment of players from 30 teams to influence the outcome of a series between two teams is a complete joke. The last time I checked, the World Series isn’t between the AL and NL; it's between two individual teams.
If the National League champion triumphs in the World Series thanks to being able to comfortably play at their house in Game 6 and/or 7, make sure you remember how they earned that home-field advantage.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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