Homefield Advantage in World Series a Bigger Deal for NL Than AL

Kevin ShayContributor IIIOctober 11, 2011

If the Rangers get past the Tigers, they will once again have to win on the road.
If the Rangers get past the Tigers, they will once again have to win on the road.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If the Rangers get past the Tigers and make the World Series for the second straight year, they can thank their own pitcher, C.J. Wilson, for not having home field advantage again this year.

Wilson gave up the three-run home run in last July's All-Star game to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder—a possible World Series opponent—that won the game for the NL. In the ridiculous realm that is Major League Baseball, where the team with the most wins during the season doesn't play the team with the least wins in the first round of the playoffs if those teams are in the same division. The league that wins this exhibition game gets the important home field advantage in the World Series.

It's huge not just having the first two games and the deciding game, if needed, at home, but the home team plays the way it is used to, with the AL using a DH and NL making pitchers hit. In another bizarre rule, the style switches according to the home team within the series. However, it's still a big advantage to have those first two games at home.

This is a much bigger deal for the NL team, which forces the AL team to lose a big bat and make pitchers who haven't taken any swings all season hit. The NL pitchers take batting practice during the season and are more used to batting. The NL managers are more used to knowing when to pull a pitcher for a pinch hitter, as well.

When the AL has home field, it just forces another bat into the NL lineup. It's not as big a change as when the NL has home field.

Since 2003 when the All-Star game winner began getting home field advantage for the World Series, the AL has obtained that seven of those eight years. Yet, its representative has only won the series four of those eight years.

The Giants were the only NL team to benefit with home field and took advantage, winning the first two games and knocking the Rangers into a tight, defensive position the rest of the series.

If the Rangers had home field advantage last year against the Giants, I think they would have won. It’s that big in baseball—at least for the NL representative in the World Series.