There have been a lot of complaints over the past decade from baseball analysts and writers, regarding the notion of using the All-Star Game to determine home field advantage in the World Series. Some even say this contributed to the annual event’s decline in TV ratings. However, I think these people are having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. They are completely missing the point as to what the real problem is with the All-Star Game.
I am also not a big fan of the rule that awards the home field advantage in the World Series to the team from the league that wins the All-Star Game. The All-Star Game was only meant to be a glorified exhibition game to showcase the best talent from both leagues. It was supposed to just be a fun game for the fans. Putting the home field advantage on the line is an attempt to give it more meaning than it should have. However, the chance that it would ever have any real impact on who wins the World Series is miniscule at best and highly overrated.
For one thing, the World Series rarely goes all seven games, which would be necessary for the home field advantage to actually kick in. And even then, it’s not a big deal. Home field advantage doesn’t mean nearly as much in baseball as it does in football or basketball. And before the new rule took effect, did the team with the best record get the home field advantage as it does in other sports? No, it was rotated on a yearly basis between the two leagues. I never heard anyone complaining when a wildcard team happened to end up getting the home field advantage over a team that had the best record in baseball.
The thing that actually ruined the All-Star Game was the advent of interleague play. Until that point, the only times during the year that players from both the American and National leagues ever appeared on the same field together were at the All-Star Game and the World Series. One of the unique things about Major League Baseball was that the two leagues remained separate for most of the year. No other sport offered such a paradigm. That one bit of quirkiness was the one advantage baseball had over the other sports.
That made baseball’s All-Star Game special. That made it much more interesting than the similar game conducted by the NFL, NBA, and NHL. If you missed it, you had to wait until October to see the two leagues clash again. But interleague play gave all of that away. Baseball, in effect, handed over its uniqueness. Now it is no different from the other sports, which actually makes it lesser than the other sports. We now see the American League take on the National League almost every day of the season. It’s become ho hum. It’s now old hat. The All-Star Game is no longer the treat that it used to be. Too bad.