Voting for the All Star Game never really bothered me as much as it does these days. To be honest, I never really cared about the selection process or who was snubbed, because the game didn’t really matter. It was just an exhibition game that showcased the games most popular stars.
Today, however I do care about the voting because it’s no longer just an exhibition. It is a game that determines home field advantage for the World Series. Before baseball decided to do this, they should have first examined the way in which players are selected.
Why should fans vote like it’s a popularity contest, instead of choosing players that would give each side the best chance to win? Wouldn’t that make more sense especially with home field advantage on this line?
In the past I always rooted for the NL because I am a Mets fan, but if they lost, it didn’t really bother me all that much because it was just for fun. Now I have to take the loss to heart because it means my team could lose home field advantage. This is not the best way to go about choosing something so important. Although alternating home field advantage each season between the NL and AL may not have been a perfect solution in some way, at least it was fair. A competition that is never really fair at it’s core, is not a true competition at all.
The idea of using the Mid Summer Classic to determine home field was first adopted in 2003 to try and increase declining TV ratings for the All Star Game and to make the game more meaningful for the players. The thought was that it would make the game more competitive than it has ever been. It was supposed to be a 2 year experiment, but it has been extended every year since 2005.
Back in 2003, Stats Inc. did an extensive study on the matter and wrote:
“Eighteen of the 22 teams with home-field advantage since 1980 won the World Series (82%), and all eight teams with home-field advantage in a series that went the full seven games since 1980 have been winners.”
To update that data a little, I took a look at the seven years since, and found that since 2004, the team that had home field advantage has won five of the last seven World Series played or 71% of the time.
As to one of their main arguments in pushing for this, MLB said the game would become more important to the managers and the players, but if that were true why would you pull Albert Pujols or Roy Halladay after three innings when there was nobody better a year ago? Why would you keep increasing the roster size every year which now stands at 34 players, instead of just taking the 25 best players?
If the intent was to have managers put a premium on winning, obviously it hasn’t worked out that way. In fact, the All Star Game has become even less significant and more of just a sideshow/popularity contest than at anytime in it’s 75+ years history.
Anyhow I just thought I’d throw my two cents in and see if any of you felt the same way about it.
One more thought before I go…
Does anybody really watch the Home Run Derby unless there is a Mets player competing?