Should the All-Star Game Winner Determine Home-Field Advantage in the World Series?

The embarrassment of the 2002 All-Star game which ended in a tie because both managers ran out of players led to controversial rule change making the All-Star game the deciding factor for awarding home advantage in the World Series.

Before 2003 home-field advantage in the World Series was rotated between the two leagues. Starting in 2003, the league that won the All-Star game was automatically awarded home-field advantage in the World Series.  The other three professional leagues (basketball, hockey, and football) use either a best record or a seeding process to determine home-field advantage for their championship series.

Since 1985 the team with home-field advantage has won 21 of 26 World Series. This suggests how important the home-field advantage is and why serious consideration should be given to how the home-field advantage is awarded in the World Series.

I would like to objectively set forth some of the arguments pro and con which I have either heard or read and then let you cast your own vote in my poll on my homepage of what you think.


Some of the cons for the new rule:

  1. It is just a ploy to give meaning to a meaningless game for the purpose of increasing television viewership.
  2. There may be just a few players playing in the All-Star game that actually take part in the World Series.
  3. The All-Star game should not be meaningful but should just be a game where the best players are all on the field at the same time.
  4. It is wrong to have a fan vote, player vote, selections by manager and one additional by fans and then say, ‘The Game Counts.’
  5. By allowing all players on both sides to play, limiting playing time for your best players and having a retired manager (Tony La Russa) manage makes this just an exhibition game. An exhibition game should not determine anything.
  6. There are better options for the determination of home-field advantage.
  7. In the baseball playoffs all the other series give home field advantage to the team with the best record, so why should the World Series be different.


Now for some pros:


  1. The old method of rotating home-field advantage each year has absolutely no validity. The All-Star game winner method is clearly an improvement.
  2. The players will recognize the importance of the game and choose not to opt out.
  3. The All-Star game becomes more competitive and thus more enjoyable for the fans.
  4. The players will take the game more seriously which will make the game a real baseball game.
  5. Since the new rule was adopted, of the first nine All-Star games played seven were decided by either one run or two runs. Close games are really enjoyed by fans.

Unlike the All-Star games of the three other major professional leagues, the baseball All-Star

Original Comments:

1 Comment(s):

Nikolai said…

The old way (rotating years) is an example of something that is symmetrical, but not fair. Just like the coin toss to determine possession in OT of NFL games, or like the ‘random’ seeding for international soccer tournaments. Still, it’s better than a system based on irrelevant factors like who wins an exhibition game. Why not just give home field to the team with the best record?

September 15, 2012 08:25:26

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