One of my favorite time’s of the year as a baseball fan is the All Star break. The festivities around the Mid-Summer Classic help remind diehard fans like myself, that as much as we stress about our team’s fate, it is truly just a game. With the Home Run Derby, the Futures Game, and the All Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game, even those that are the “occasional” fan type, can find something entertaining while the players get a well deserved rest for a few days.
The laid back atmosphere and lightheartedness is a great thing, and like most major sports, equates to some great entertainment and unforgettable moments when the All Star players actually take the field for the game.
There is one thing that just doesn’t seem to fit, the fact that the fate of the World Series rests on the laid back and lighthearted play of those playing in the game. It seems that in every major sport the home field advantage when it comes time to deciding the championship is determined by the team’s performance.
However in Major League Baseball, the home field advantage is determined by which league, the American or National, wins the All Star game. This means that the team with the best record in baseball doesn’t necessarily have an advantage in the World Series for being the best in the regular season.
This season for instance, if things progressed the same way they have for the first half of the season, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are the top two teams in the league. In theory if they finished it would seem that they should have home field advantage should their team make it to the World Series in October. However, with the dominate pitching of the National League All Star team this year, which includes Ubaldo Jimenez a 15 game winner, Roy Halladay who threw a perfect game earlier this year, Josh Johnson who leads league in ERA, and 2-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, the American League’s shot at home field advantage looks dim.
The fate of the league’s best team being guided in any way by a team of players essentially vacationing their way through the All Star game doesn’t seem sensible. It changes the game for the players, and for the fans.
Tonight I’ll be watching the game, the players, cheering for my favorites and enjoying the game, but in the back of my mind I’ll be wondering if this game will change whether or not my team has home field advantage in the World Series. Of course, that is if they get there.