The MLB All-Star Game is underway as I write, and it’s the first one since 2002 that won’t decide which league’s World Series team gets home-field advantage.
Major League Baseball added that stipulation following the 2002 All-Star Game, a contest ending in a tie when both teams ran out of pitchers. Not only would this stipulation ensure that future All-Star Games crown a winner, but it also provided extra incentive to compete hard, so the thinking went.
Two major flaws: 1) Baseball players take the All-Star Game seriously no matter what. This is unlike the NHL All-Stars prior to 2016, where each one would give a half-hearted effort, if that. The final score of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game? 17-12. Seriously. An MLB All-Star Game equivalent would feature 65mph pitches, home runs every other at-bat, and a 31-24 final score. Borrrrring.
And 2) this stipulation may not reward a team that won more regular season games than the other. Last year’s Cubs won 103 regular season games, but since the American League won the 2016 All-Star Game, the 94-win Indians had home-field advantage. Yeah yeah, the Cubs won the World Series in seven games. They were forced to play four in Cleveland, however, including the final two after leaving Wrigley down 3-2 in the series. The point is that home-field advantage should be decided based on which team had the better 162-game regular season, not the performance of a group of All-Stars in July.
Thankfully Major League Baseball now recognizes this.