The All-Star Game is now upon us. Starting this season, Major League Baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic will no longer determine which league will receive home field advantage in the World Series.
Since 2003, the league that won the annual All-Star Game would receive home field advantage in that year’s World Series. This year however that will not be the case. Major League Baseball has gotten rid of the extra incentive for teams to win the All-Star Game.
Much has been made about how this will “ruin” the All-Star Game, but I disagree wholeheartedly. In fact, I couldn’t agree more with the decision to get rid of the ridiculous incentive. I believe that not only will the All-Star Game be just as competitive as it has been in past years, but also that this move will create more competitive baseball at the end of the season.
Last season the Cleveland Indians met up in the World Series with the Chicago Cubs. It was a spectacular series that captivated baseball fans everywhere. The only problem with it was that the 94-67 Indians received home field advantage over the 103-58 Cubs because players from the Kansas City Royals homered off of a pitcher from the San Francisco Giants.
The Chicago Cubs deserved home field advantage in the World Series in 2016. They were the better team. They had the better record. The problem was that an exhibition game played in July determined that the Cleveland Indians would receive home field advantage instead.
Now that the game doesn’t count for anything, as it shouldn’t, some folks worry that the level of effort and competition will decrease. I’m here to tell you that that is rather silly as well.
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MLB players only get a couple of at bats during any given All-Star Game. Mark Teixeira recently said on MLB Network that of course he was trying to hit a home run when he made the All-Star Game. The last thing on the players mind during the game is the World Series. Half of the players play on teams who don’t have a shot at the playoffs. Why would they be worried about the World Series?
Baseball players are a different breed. Baseball players bust their butts to receive an All-Star bid. Every year, more and more kids make their first All-Star Game appearance. It’s one of the greatest honors MLB players can be given. The last thing they want to do is waste the opportunity. That’s why you still see 99 mph fastballs in the MLB All-Star Game. Not because they want some of their teammates to have home field advantage later that year.
MLB has the longest season in professional sports. Playing 162 games is grueling and incredibly difficult. The players that go to Miami this year are giving up the only significant break they receive all season to play yet ANOTHER baseball game. How selfish is it for us as fans to expect them to play that game with any certain effort level?
The All-Star Game is supposed to be a fun event for fans and players to celebrate the stars of baseball. A time when everyone can come together without the stress of the regular season and just enjoy all of the greatness that has been bestowed upon us.
Even if the players aren’t playing at a playoff level of intensity on July 11, who cares? Enjoy getting to see some of the greatest baseball players ever all on the field at one time. It’s an exhibition. It’s supposed to be fun, not stressful.
I totally understand the concern people have. I know that some people want to see MLB game number 2,431 on the season, but I have a suggestion for you: relax.
Kick back and enjoy the fun on Tuesday, because whether the game counts or not, baseball’s brightest young stars are gonna be on full display in Miami and, believe it or not, are going to bust their tails to give us one hell of a show.