The Major League Baseball All-Star game will no longer determine home field advantage in the World Series, the Associated Press reports. The pennant winner with the best record will now be awarded Games 1-2 and 6-7 of the Fall Classic.
The change is part of the new collective bargaining agreement reached on Wednesday and puts an end to one of the most maligned gimmicks in the sport’s history after 12 years.
As a memory refresher:
Home-field advantage in the World Series generally rotated between the leagues through 2002. Baseball, led by then-Commissioner Bud Selig, and Fox television promoted the “This Time It Counts” innovation after the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie when both teams ran out of pitchers. Selig was booed in his own Milwaukee backyard.
“This energizes it. This gives them something to really play for,” Selig said after owners approved the change by a 30-0 vote in January 2003. “People pay a lot of money to see that game. They deserve to see the same intensity they see all year long. Television people pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a meaningless exhibition game.”
It wasn’t the worst idea on paper but it didn’t take long for fans to bristle at the weirdness, especially as the American League won 11 of 14 games and members of the senior circuit kept getting the short end of the stick.
The foolishness of deciding World Series home field in July during a glorified exhibition was obvious last year, as the Chicago Cubs, winners of 103 regular season games, didn’t get the same reward as the 94-win Cleveland Indians.
On a basic level, the idea was always unfair. One could go a step further and say it was downright silly, considering the marathon nature of a baseball season which includes interleague play.
Don’t expect too many to mourn the change. If there’s a true loss here, it’s of a great motto as, technically, the c