Last week, Major League Baseball's owners unanimously approved Commissioner Bud Selig's proposal to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series.
Last week, Major League Baseball's owners unanimously approved Commissioner Bud Selig's proposal to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series. In the official release announcing the vote, Selig proclaimed, "This change is designed to re-energize and give greater meaning to the All-Star Game."
This wasn't a problem before 1997. Until then, the All-Star Game had plenty of meaning. It was the only time before the World Series when AL and NL players competed against one another. However, in yet another Selig-era obsession with the short-term "fix," the owners not only wore out the novelty of interleague play in short order, but took the bloom off their own midsummer showcase by scheduling all those interleague games within three weeks of the All-Star Game. MLB's antitrust exemption might protect the league from a lot of things, but it doesn't protect it from the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The move will surely be applauded by Fox, which has TV rights to the next three All-Star Games. And MLB's current proposal could improve the quality of the game, especially if players from contending teams appreciate the impact of a win.
Still, the move has been met with considerable skepticism from the players. As NL player representative Tom Glavine told the New York Times: "It's an exhibition game. That's how it's approached. What other games do we play where we have the starting pitchers wearing microphones? If you want to do that, it's going to be hard for players to have the mentality that this is a win-at-all-cost game." As the MLBPA must approve the proposed change before it takes effect, Glavine's comments suggest that the issue is far from resolved.
Home field advantage in the World Series has never been more important. Consider:
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January 3, 2003 12:22 am
Between the persistence of Pete Rose, the ongoing turf war between Tribune Co. and the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and the deteriorating mental health of John Schuerholz, the most oft-reported story of this winter has been the apparent deflation in the market for free agents.
Between the persistence of Pete Rose, the ongoing turf war between Tribune Co. and the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and the deteriorating mental health of John Schuerholz, the most oft-reported story of this winter has been the apparent deflation in the market for free agents. Certainly, there are enough anecdotal examples to make a good case for the sky-is-falling crowd: Jeff Kent was signed rather cheaply, Frank Castillo took a pay cut of almost $4 million just for being his mediocre self, and the abundance of non-tenders suggest that teams expect that they can pay less for comparable talent by turning to the free-agent market than by accepting the terms of an arbitration settlement. Of course, there are counter-examples too; Jim Thome and Tom Glavine were signed to plenty generous contracts, St. Louis paid a premium to retain Woody Williams, and the Cubs seem to have pro-rated Antonio Alfonseca's contract over all 12 of his fingers.
What is in order is a systematic analysis of the free agent class of this winter as well as last, which takes into account not only the contracts the these players were signed to, but also how much value they are likely to provide to their new employers.
October 29, 1998 12:00 am
The full results of this year's IBA voting.