Shaking Up Home Field Advantage

Nathaniel BallanceContributor IJanuary 30, 2010

Ever since he ended the 2002 All-Star game deadlocked at seven, Bud Selig decided that the annual mid-season matchup of All-Stars needed a little something extra.  So he laid out his plan to give home field advantage in the World Series to whichever representative's league won the meaningless exhibition game in the middle of July. 

I guess there's no real clear-cut way to determine which team should receive that pivotal extra home game come October.  Or, more recently, November.

Alternating Home-Field: Before the now infamous tie, home field advantage in the World Series simply alternated between leagues every year.  The National League would have the advantage in even years, and the American League in odd years.

This isn't a terrible way of doing it, but it does completely ignore every aspect about both teams and both leagues.  I'm not a huge fan, but there could be worse arrangements.

All-Star Game: Assigning home field advantage this way isn't a great way to decide, but it's certainly something.  It makes more sense if the All-Star rosters were constructed more appropriately. 

Instead of having the fans vote for whichever big name they recognize the most, have the players vote for whoever they think gives them the best chance to win the game, and in turn, home field advantage.

In its current set-up, the All-Star game isn't a place to give Tim Wakefield some sort of ridiculous lifetime achievement selection, especially when he's not even one of the top 25 starters in his own league.

Also, if each team is required to have at least one representative selected to the team, that further makes a mockery of this system to determining home field advantage.

Better Record: This is probably the most popular option to determine who gets home-field advantage, and up until the World Series, I'm okay with it.  But because the leagues don't play each other for more than two weeks' worth of games in middle of the summer, I don't like it for determining World Series home field.

League power is cyclical and the parity between leagues is often less than ideal.  Currently, the American League is in a decade-long cycle of complete interleague dominance. 

Handing home field advantage to a National League West team that wins 98 games over an American League East team that finishes the season with 95 wins doesn't make complete sense to me.

Better League: Here's the one I'll throw my weight behind.  Since MLB now plays over 200 interleague games over the course of the season, I think there's an appropriate enough sample size to determine which league deserves home-field advantage.

This one's simple—whichever league proves itself as the superior circuit gets home field advantage.  It's a more telling sample that one exhibition game in July that's more of a social event than an actual game.