When the World Series begins tonight, the Kansas City Royals are going to have the advantage of playing the first game at home.
They will have been able to sleep in their own beds the night before, they will have the familiarity of a stadium they play in all the time, and will play the game in front of their raucous fans excited to see World Series action for the first time in 29 years.
They get to do that again for game two.
If the Royals can parlay that action into two wins, the Giants will then be faced with the unenviable task of having to win four of the remaining five games before they have even had a chance to play one game in San Francisco.
Home field advantage is HUGE in these short series.
And why do the Royals have home field advantage in the World Series? Because of the ridiculous decision to base it on the outcome of the All-Star game in July.
That was the same All-Star game during which exactly one player from the Giants and Royals started. Royals catcher Salvador Perez batted ninth for the AL and had a single at bat.
But thanks to Adam Wainwright grooving a pitch to Derek Jeter (Jeter later scored), Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers hitting a home run, and Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets failing to get a hit in the eighth inning, the AL won the All-Star game and the Royals have home field advantage in the World Series.
Proponents of giving the home field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star game argue that it is no different than the randomness of the previous method, which was to have the AL and NL teams alternate each year.
But that is not true. Just look at the results of the All-Star game since the change in 2003. Of the 12 All-Star games, nine have been won by the American League.
In other words, for the last 12 years, teams in the AL have had a decided World Series advantage over teams in the NL based on absolutely nothing that happened during regular season games.
That is not random and it is not fair to teams in the National League.
The problem is home field advantage has less of an impact on World Series television ratings than “excitement” has on the TV ratings for the All-Star game. As we all know, TV ratings are king in the sports world.
But in the end, the balance of power in the most important games of the season are being unnecessarily affected because Major League Baseball wanted to add excitement to a meaningless exhibition game.
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