MLB – I’M SORRY TO SEE THE ALL STAR GAME-WORLD SERIES CONNECTION GO
Am I the only baseball fan in America who actually liked the idea that the winner of the All-Star Game determined home-field advantage in the World Series?
Guess that makes me an aberration, because no one else seemed to care for it. Especially not major leaguers.
Players like Bryce Harper have voiced their displeasure about it since the inception of the initiative in 2003. He said earlier this year: “I’ve got to say that I think the best record in baseball should have home-field advantage (in the World Series), no matter what,” Harper told MLB Network ( via The Washington Post ). “I mean, I don’t think this game should mean anything. It’s coming out here, having fun, enjoying the game.”
Well, Harper got his wish, because last week, the Players Union (MLBPA) lobbied for this issue to be annulled from the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so out it came.
Instead, AP reports that going forward the “pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.”
The point of the innovation, per its inventor former Commissioner Bud Selig, was to give the players something to work for, help make the meaningless exhibition game more competitive and bring in more ratings.
And, the scheme worked. All Star Games since 2002 became much more competitive and managers seemed to take the game more seriously by strategically picking players they thought could help them win.
Take American League All-Star Manager Ned Yost’s statement to reporters before the 2016 game: “It’s vitally important. We’ve got a room full of tremendously talented players and if we win it’s going to affect one of them… It’s going to be huge for whoever gets to the World Series this year.”
Also, in case people are worried about fairness, only twice in the 13 years of the ASG determining home field has the team with the worse record opened the World Series. Not much to worry about there.
So what will make the Midsummer Classic worth playing for now?
As Selig discussed after the owners approved the old policy, where will the “intensity” now come from? Is the All-Star Game going to be “meaningless” again?
Will these players who earn multi-million dollar salaries be incentivized by a mere $20,000 bonus if their team wins? (According to MLB, “players on the Active Roster of the winning team [will now] share equally in a $640,000 bonus.”)
The moral to the story is that the players just voted on this: The All-Star Game no longer “counts”.
But perhaps that is what the debate is all about when it comes to the nay-sayers: that the Midsummer Classic should simply be a showcase of the game’s biggest stars.
As a fan, though, I am disappointed.
I liked the tension created by the heightened stakes.
I found that I wanted to stay up and see the outcome of All Star Game(s) because they became important.
I actually rooted for something: my favorite league.
I didn’t and don’t want to watch players put forth minimal effort, despite the fact that they are collectively the best in the game.
I mean, what’s the point?
Interestingly, I found a poll online through the Kansas City Star which shows 63% of the 583 voters are not happy that the All Star Game – World Series link is now broken (as of the date of this posting).
Well, sorry friends, the All Star Game will now be pure fun for the players, but not so much for you fans.
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