A Proposed Revision to MLB's Home Field Advantage Rule

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A Proposed Revision to MLB's Home Field Advantage Rule
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Greetings. This is the first article I've written for Bleacher Report, so please bear with me.

Allow me to get straight to the point: the Major League Baseball All-Star game, in its current format is a joke. In an effort to generate a meaningful exhibition game, Bud Selig decided the victorious league in the Midsummer Night Classic should be awarded home field advantage in the World Series. Not only is this a horrendous idea, but many of MLB's attitudes and policies towards the game prevent it from being considered a meaningful competition.

Firstly, if the All-Star game is to be a legitimate competition, then the best players from each league should be participating in it. If MLB wants to tout the game as a meaningful competition it would make it so that the best players are starting and seeing the most playing time.

However, this is not the case. The fans are allowed to select the starters for each league's team, and in most cases, they do a miserable job of selecting players. By allowing the fans to select the All-Stars, the game has become a popularity contest with teams from large baseball markets (New York, Boston, Los Angeles) having a multitude of representatives in the affair, while teams in small baseball markets (Kansas City, Pittsburgh) have few if any ballplayers.

Furthermore, players who may not be deserving of an All-Star selection, but are tremendously popular (Derek Jeter) often receive the starting position over a more deserving player.  So many examples of fans doing a poor job at selecting All-Stars abound that I do not need to delve the subject here ad nauseam (For a while, Los Angeles Dodger Manny Ramirez, suspended for violating MLB's performance enhancing drug policy, was a leading All-Star vote receiver making him eligible for a starting role). If the game is to be legitimate, then take the voting away from the fans. 

Secondly, in our age of multi-million dollar contracts, pitch counts, post-Tom Brady opening day injuries, and generalized oversensitivity, the result has been that the average All-Star game player sees one or maybe two innings pitched or at bats. All-Star game managers are more concerned with giving most of the roster playing time and minimizing the chance of injuries. Against this backdrop, a meaningful game cannot be played. It is utterly absurd for home field advantage to be awarded to the winner, when managers manage the game as if winning is not the ultimate priority.

Home field advantage

Since it appears unlikely the All-Star game will never be played as a legitimate competition, home field advantage in the World Series should not be riding on its outcome. But how should it be determined? It could be awarded to the team possessing the best regular season record. However, this would be unfair, as the National League is significantly weaker than the American League, and thus a team which racked up 95 wins playing inferior competition in the NL may not be as deserving as an American League team with fewer wins.

The solution: Home field advantage should be determined by inter-league play.  Simply, whichever league wins the most games in the head to head matchups should be awarded home field advantage in the World Series. In this way, home field advantage will still be determined in a contest between the two leagues, but it will not hinge on the result of an irrelevant exhibition game

 

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