The MLB All-Star Game has Lost Its Meaning

Filed under: On the Job |
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SAN DIEGO (July 12, 2016) Sailors man the rails while Marines hold up the American flag during the pre-game ceremony of the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Petco Park. Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing joined together to participate in a salute to the United States Armed Forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chad M. Trudeau)

Marquette, MIJuly 7, 2017 – In 2003 the MLB had a radical idea. They wanted to give players an incentive to try and come out victorious in the annual All-Star game.  To provide that incentive, the MLB awarded the winning league home-field advantage in the World Series.

This rule has lasted until now. Starting with the 2017 All-Star game, the winning league will no longer be granted home-field advantage in the World Series. Home-field advantage will now go to the team with the best record in the series.

The NBA does it, the NHL does it, the NFL holds their championship game on a neutral field, so it sounds like a fair thing to do, right?

Wrong.

The MLB schedule is vastly different than that of the NBA and NHL. For instance, in the NBA, every team plays 30 games, or 36.5% of their schedule, against the opposing conference. Every team in the NBA plays 2 games against every opponent in the opposing conference. MLB teams play drastically less against opposing league teams. Every MLB team plays just 20 interleague games, or 12.3% of their schedule. And those games only come against one division in the opposing league.

The way the MLB schedule is made, not nearly enough interleague games are played for overall records to be the deciding factor for home-field advantage in the World Series. And you might be saying “well neither is one game in the middle of the season with makeshift teams.” To that I would say, I agree.

In the MLB there is no perfect idea to decide home-field advantage. The worst part is, the MLB is by far the sport where home-field advantage between two leagues plays the biggest role…because the two leagues use different rules (which is a topic for another time)!

But I loved the idea of adding meaning to the All-Star game.  I stopped watching the Pro Bowl because of the lack of effort (which I understand, football is dangerous). The NBA All-Star game has turned into a complete joke where guys on defense lay down on fast breaks and scores end up 192-182. By making the All-Star game decide home-field advantage it made the best baseball players in the world go out there, play hard, and compete.

Since the inception of the rule, the American League outscored the National League 59 runs to 51 runs in 14 games. Or an average score of 4.2 to 3.6. These games were extremely competitive! We got the extremely rare luxury of seeing the best players in the world get together on the same field and compete against each other as if the game counted. Because it did.

Now it is just another All-Star game.