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St. Louis Cardinals: Is World Series Win Tainted by 2002 All-Star Game?

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St. Louis Cardinals: Is World Series Win Tainted by 2002 All-Star Game?
Michael Heiman/Getty Images
This celebration may never have happened if the results of the All-Star Game didn't affect home-field advantage in the World Series.

The Cardinals didn't win the World Series last night. The National League All-Stars won it in July.

In no way am I trying to take anything away from the Cardinals. They won this series by outplaying the Rangers in key moments when it mattered the most. It just so happens that it's easier to do that on the comfort of your own home field.

St. Louis stayed alive with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 thanks to World Series MVP David Freese, who also won that game for them in the 11th inning with a walk-off home run. After that momentum shift, the result of Game 7 was merely a formality.

For people who watched Game 6 and saw a clueless Nelson Cruz try to catch Freese's game-tying triple, it's hard not to think that he would have known where the wall was in his own home park and been more aggressive going after the ball. Before this year's World Series, Cruz had never set foot in Busch Stadium.

I'm not excusing Cruz's misplay, which essentially cost his team a World Series title. He's a highly-paid professional athlete, regardless of whether his strength is hitting home runs or making game-saving plays in the field. It's a play that could have been made, but is significantly more difficult in a foreign outfield.

If home-field advantage in the World Series was determined by team record like it should be, Texas would have played at home in Games 6 and 7. While the same exact scenarios are unlikely to unfold in a completely different park, you can't convince me that St. Louis wins this series without four games at Busch, "team of destiny" or not.

Would the 2011 World Series have had a different outcome if Texas had home-field advantage?

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The home team won five of the seven games in this year's World Series, with the only exceptions coming in Game 2 in St. Louis and Game 3 in Texas. The final four games of the series, by far the most pivotal ones, were all won by the home team.

Ever since the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie, the result of the Midsummer Classic has affected which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series. It's absurd that the results from a game that doesn't matter has an effect on games that do and ultimately, the league's championship.

If the outcome of this year's World Series doesn't convince Bud Selig that his 2003 solution to "fix" the All-Star Game is flawed, nothing will. St. Louis beat both Philadelphia and Milwaukee to get to the World Series, and it's ironic that players from both teams helped them win once they got there.

Phillies pitchers Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee allowed just one run in the first three-and-two-thirds innings of the All-Star Game. If they had instead gotten shelled, the Rangers would likely be the team popping champagne like they won the championship game.

Brewers' first baseman Prince Fielder hit the three-run home run that put the National League up for good in the fourth inning. Think Fielder is happy that he aided a World Series victory for a hated division rival?

It's truly a shame that an All-Star Game from nine years ago affected the result of the 2011 World Series. It would be an even bigger shame if Selig didn't recognize his mistake and reverse it. If he doesn't, this won't be the last time the issues comes up. Mark my words.

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