But, in 2003, Base Ball Commissioner Bud Selig made, in my opinion, a ludicrous decision that would affect baseball’s most important game.
The premise that the outcome of Major League Baseball All-Star game will determine home-field advantage in the upcoming World Series is one of the most absurd concepts in the history of professional sports.
The All-Star game is an exhibition game originated to present the fans with a chance to bring all of their favorite players onto the same field for one game a season.
This game is now over 100 years old. Originally, teams were selected by the managers and the fans. This changed in 1935 when the managers selected the teams for each league.
The picks changed once again from 1947-57 when fans chose the team's starters while the managers chose the pitchers and remaining players. Managers, players and coaches picked the teams from 1958-69. Finally, in 1970, the selection of the starters returned to the fans and remains so to this day.
In 2002 the All-Star game was all tied up. At the beginning of the 11th inning an announcement was made that if no one took the lead by the end of the inning, the game would be called a tie.
Both teams had simply run out of pitchers. The managers, the commissioner and the umpires agreed calling the game was the only thing that could be done.
Fans were irate to say the least. After all, they paid money to see one of the teams win the game. As a result the All-Star game received a lot of bad publicity.
People threatened to stop watching the All-Star game. It became a joke to the true baseball fan who loved the purity of the game.
Something had to be done quickly to hold the millions of fans loyal to “America's favorite past-time.”
The MLB could have gone one of two ways;
1) Add more players to the team or 2) Make it count for something.
Execs at the Fox Network began to pressure Selig toward the "this time it counts" age. So, despite the fact that there is absolutely no connection, in 2003 Selig ruled the All-Star game would determine home-field advantage for the World Series.
Because of Selig, home-field advantage for the World Series is now decided months earlier via an exhibition game. This changes it from an “All-Star game” to a regular game. And, by the way, the best players are not always involved since it is a popularity contest with the fans.
If the outcome of the game means that much then the best pitchers should pitch and the best players should play with very little substitution. Treat it like a World Series game or at least like one that affects the most important game in baseball and move the timing of the game to ensure this will happen. Also, the choice of players would have to be taken away from the fans and given back to managers to guarantee the top players are representing both leagues.
So, should an exhibition game determine home-field advantage for World Series? No, it is just a bad idea. This game should have utterly no impact on the World Series.
Let's get back to the one night a year of good old fashioned baseball fun. Give us back the game that had nothing to do with anything except pride; pride for the players and pride for the fans.
This all started because both sides ran out of pitchers years ago. The best remedy for that? Add more players to the team, not more pressure.
Go back to switching sites each year or award the team with the best record with home field advantage but don’t tie the biggest game of the year in MLB to an exhibition game. That’s not just illogical, it is foolish.
On a personal note, for those of who don't think major league baseball players play to win, I suggest you go back and watch the 1970 All-Star game with Pete Rose vs. Ray Fosse. Now that’s baseball!