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Tweet of the Day: The All-Star Game really does matter, unfortunately

Jul 10, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

Factoids I was not aware of:

 

In light of this, baseball is absolutely right that the All-Star Game truly does decide something important. Too bad, then, that nothing about how the All-Star Game is conceived, constructed and executed shows any evidence whatsoever that anyone truly appreciates the gravity of that which its outcome determines.

And if you doubt that baseball cares very little about the All-Star Game’s impact on home field advantage in the World Series, here’s a little thought experiment: Say Ron Washington decides to pitch Justin Verlander eight innings, allowing him to throw 115 piches, and leaves all of his starters in for the duration tonight. After the game he says “I had my best pitcher throwing bullets and kept in my top players all game because the Rangers are going to make the World Series, dammit, and this year we want to be at home. It counts, and I treated this game just like I’d treat Game 7 of the World Series.”

Think everyone would be cool with that? I don’t think so. I think there would be outrage and anger and immediate calls for change, and not just from Jim Leyland. And I think that outrage would be proof positive that baseball isn’t truly serious about the All-Star Game mattering, even though, in reality, it does.

  1. natslady - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Yeah, and as I said, the key to TLR’s thinking is “WIN THE D*** GAME!” Maybe he doesn’t have the same incentive as Wash, but you can bet he wants to win.

  2. stex52 - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    The conclusion is obvious. The game should not be associated with who gets home field for the WS. A bad idea all around.

  3. mrfloydpink - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Hey, the All-Star game attendance has been good. So what’s the problem?

    Regards,

    Bud Selig

    • cur68 - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      FTW

  4. danaking - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    This home field business was an abomination from the get-go. Let the team with the best record have home field advantage in the World Series. It’s not like it places hotel and travel arrangements in jeopardy. No one knows who is going until a few days before the series starts, anyway.

    • mjames1229 - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      I am not saying that tying home-field advantage to the All-Star game win is the right thing to do, but I do think it was better than what was previously in place… alternating years.

      The age old excuse was because of travel logistics. A fine excuse in 1971, but not the 21st century. Time to push towards best regular season record to get home field advantage.

      • pauleee - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        There were travel issues between Pittsburgh and Baltimore?

      • CJ - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        travel was a nightmare in those days. Horses were hard to come by what with the Pony Express and all :)

      • alang3131982 - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        I’m with Mjames on this one. How is this that unfair or ridiculous? You want to give the team with the best record HF? How do you decide best record? The AL has killed the NL in inter-league play, which, one can assume, means AL teams play a harder schedule. Is a .589 winning percentage in the AL better than a .600 percentage in the NL? What about teams from the AL central versus teams from the AL east?

        There is no way to award HF advantage on merit, which is the only fair way to do it. So who cares how they award it, it’s always been random and will likely always be random in the future. Switching from ASG winner to “best record” wont change that sometimes the most deserving team doesnt have HF advantage…

  5. stlouis1baseball - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    You are exactly right Craig. Ron Washington (off all people) would have the biggest incentive to Manage this game like a WS game #7. The outcome does have consequences. Consequences Ron would love to see result in home field avantage for his team. I think it would be absolutely great if one of the Managers were to leave his starting pitcher in because he was throwing darts and virtually un-hittable. This would create immediate change. Ron AND Tony are very much trying to win this game. Tony’s selection of Cain over Dickey illustrates this perfectly. It has nothing do with R.A.’s dominance, the curiosity of the knuckleball, etc… Tony could give a crap about the sexy pick. He could give a crap what people think. His selection has everything to do with Cain and Posey being regular battery mates. This gives the NL an advantage to start the game. But off course…there has to be some sinister motive though huh?

  6. cincyj - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    What happens when a WS manager changes leagues the next season and is managing the opposing league’s team for home field? Say TLR took the Boston job… (just for example, I know he has far too much integrity to throw the game for his own benefit, but maybe not everyone does)

  7. paperlions - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Could someone with more time on their hands see if this is actually a meaningful statistic and not cherry picked based on convenience?

    If home field didn’t matter at all, then the team with HF would have won 13 instead of 21….how many of those extra 8 can be attributed to the last 10 years, during which the AL dominated both the ASG and in terms of quality of teams? If the answer to that is 5 or 6….then the difference is only a couple of series wins, which is well within the realm of chance occurrence (i.e. not a significant effect).

    • Detroit Michael - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      More concisely, correlation does not equal causation. It’s still no big deal that the World Series home field advantage is decided based on the All-Star Game. It’s dumb, but less dumb that basing it on whether it is an even or odd year. If the teams are evenly matched, we know that having the home field advantage shifts the odds of winning one game from 50% to 54%. The effect on the World Series as a whole is much smaller.

    • umrguy42 - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      I dunno about how things would be all different, but off the top of my head… (small sample size alert applies*):

      If the 1985 Series is included in that 26 WS (don’t care to do the math) –
      The Cardinals are 1-3 in WS where they *don’t* have HFA. (1-1 since 2002 changed the system.)
      They are 1-0 in WS where they do have HFA.
      As far as Game 7s, they are 0-2 when they don’t have HFA, and 1-0 when they do.

      *SSS – Actually, ~1/5 of the 26 (27?) WS is maybe not as small. Not sure on Game 7s, how far back that stretches. But 3 of the 5 Series having gone to Game 7 is, maybe something? Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  8. hushbrother - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    How about a simple rule for determining home field advantage in the World Series: the team with the BETTER RECORD gets it? Then you have things that actually do count – regular season games – being the deciding factor.

    • natslady - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      OK, you can do that next year. This year (self-interest at play here), let’s see if we can beat the Yanks in our house–y’know, because we did so well against them here in June…

    • 18thstreet - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      The team with the better record probably plays in the weaker league.

      I’d go back to alternating between NL and AL.

  9. crnvic847 - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    @DetroitMichael

    How’s Jimmy Carter doing?

  10. randygnyc - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    And with so much on the line, fan voting must stop. Statistical leaders should play. People in Houston (or other such non-competitive) cities) get to vote on players who essentially will decide home field advantage for a series they won’t be playing in.

  11. The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    How about all seven games are played in the home park of whichever player wins the Home Run Derby? Then IT ALL MATTERS!

    • paperlions - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      That would be great, but how many people will travel to Detroit to watch a Yankees/Nationals matchup?

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        On a more serious note, I often wonder how the World Series would sell at a neutral site. I’m completely against it, but I imagine the national attention is sufficient to sell out a stadium. The question is whether it can sell out a stadium for 7 nights.

      • paperlions - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        I’m sure you could sell out at least 1 game. If game 1 of the WS was in Detroit this year, I am sure they could sell most of the tickets (if they were only outrageously priced and not totally crazily priced) to that game locally. That wouldn’t happen, as it would turn into an event and people that don’t belong at the game *cough*actorsinnewcrappyfoxshows*cough* would litter the stands….but I’m sure it would sell out for at least 1 game.

  12. needtoplay - Jul 10, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    One more time……. the league with the best record in inter-league play wins home field advantage.

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