#Hot Corner

"This Time It Counts." - A Defense

It's been a lot of years since Commissioner Bud and Major League Baseball introduced the "This Time It Counts" to the All-Star Game protocols.

And yet, people still love to complain about it. "How," they ask, "can you attach something so frivolous (the All-Star Game) to something so important (Game 7 of the World Series)?"

How?

After the jump, I'll tell you how.

First, does anyone remember who they did it before?

Odd-even.

In the odd years, the American League got Games 1 and 2 and (if necessary) 6 and 7.

In the even years, the National League got them.

So the home-field advantage, to the degree it existed -- after all, in most years there isn't a Game 7 -- had absolutely nothing to do with fairness to the individual teams, though you could argue it was fair to the leagues, overall.

In the interest of fairness to the leagues, you might prefer that the home-field advantages are divided equally, right down the middle. But if you assume that the leagues are roughly equal, then over the years the leagues should win roughly the same number of All-Star Games ... and thus the leagues will get roughly the same number of Game 7's in the World Series. It won't alternate year to year, of course; but over the long run, it'll be close.

Is fairness to the leagues a primary concern, though? Can't we make an argument for fairness to the teams? Can't we argue that the better team deserves to host Game 7? And that the better team is most likely to be the team that represents the better league? And that the better league is most likely to win the All-Star Game?

No, none of it's perfect. But it's foolish to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The current method for determining who gets the home-field advantage in the World Series isn't perfect. It's not how I would do it. But it's better, more fair, than what came before.

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