ASG back to fun game
Home field no longer at stake
The league that wins baseball’s All-Star Game no longer will get home-field advantage in the World Series, which instead will go to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record.
The change was included in Major League Baseball’s tentative new collective bargaining agreement and disclosed early Thursday to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the deal, reached Wednesday evening in Irving, Texas, had not been announced.
Home-field advantage in the World Series generally rotated between the leagues through 2002. Baseball, led by then-Commissioner Bud Selig, and Fox television promoted the “This Time It Counts” innovation after the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie when both teams ran out of pitchers. Selig was booed in his own Milwaukee backyard.
What began as a two-year experiment was extended. The American League won 11 of 14 All-Star Games played under the rule, and the AL representative won eight World Series in those years.
As part of the changes for next year, players in the AllStar Game will have the incentive to play for a pool of money.
Among other details agreed upon:
• The minimum stay on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.
• For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places starting in 2018.
• While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team’s annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.
• Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.
• The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.
• The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years.
• Cubans under 25 will be considered amateurs, up from 23.
• Each team must hire a chef for its players.
• Every player must be provided two bus seats during spring training trips.
• As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.