Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement late Wednesday night, and one of the most interesting details to trickle out of the pact ends the link between the All-Star Game and the World Series.
Home-field advantage in the Fall Classic will no longer be determined by the winner of the Midsummer Classic, per the Associated Press, ending a 14-year experiment. Home-field advantage in the World Series will now be determined by regular-season records of the two pennant winners.
The full details of the new CBA are expected to be announced on Thursday, after players and owners ratify the agreement.
“The parties continue to draft the entirety of the tentative agreement,” MLB said in a statement on Wednesday night. “Specific terms of the pact will be made available when the drafting process is complete.”
Tying home-field advantage for the World Series to the All-Star Game was an idea concocted after the 2002 MLB All-Star Game ended in a tie in Milwaukee when both teams ran out of pitchers in 11 innings. The enduring image of this game was then-commissioner Bud Selig, the former owner of the Brewers, with his hands raised in exasperated fashion once he realized there might not be a winner.
In an effort to make the All-Star Game more meaningful, starting in 2003 MLB awarded home-field advantage in the World Series to the league that won the All-Star Game. There was even a marketing campaign surrounding the move, with the slogan “This time it counts.”
The American League has owned the All-Star Game since that caveat was added, winning 11 of 14 Midsummer Classics, including each of the last four years.
The National League has won eight of the last 14 World Series, including all three years (2010-2012) with home-field advantage. The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 7 of the 2011 World Series at home, the first Game 7 since the World Series was tied to the All-Star Game. But in the last two Games 7, the NL has prevailed on the road, with the San Francisco Giants prevailing in Kansas City in 2014 and the Chicago Cubs winning in Cleveland in 2016.
Prior to the All-Star Game experiment, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated between the National League and American League each season.
Other changes to the All-Star Game beginning in 2017 are 32-man rosters for each league, with players from the winning team equally sharing a $640,000 bonus, and that managers no longer select reserves for the roster. Instead, those will be picked by the commissioner’s office.