All-Star Game won’t de­cide Se­ries ad­van­tage

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY RON­ALD BLUM

NEW YORK | 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 reg­u­larsea­son 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.

In ad­di­tion, play­ers and man­age­ment agreed the min­i­mum stay on the dis­abled list will be re­duced from 15 days to 10.

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.

“This en­er­gizes it. This gives them some­thing to re­ally play for,” Selig said after own­ers ap­proved the change by a 30-0 vote in Jan­uary 2003. “Peo­ple pay a lot of money to see that game. They de­serve to see the same in­ten­sity they see all year long. Tele­vi­sion peo­ple pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a mean­ing­less ex­hi­bi­tion game.”

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.

“It will put back a lit­tle of the siz­zle,” San Fran­cisco Giants ex­ec­u­tive Larry Baer said in 2003.

Un­der the new rule, a wild-card team could have home-field ad­van­tage against a di­vi­sion win­ner.

As part of the changes for next year, play­ers in the All-Star Game will have the in­cen­tive to play for a pool of money.

The DL change will al­low teams to make quicker de­ci­sions on whether to bring up a ros­ter re­place­ment rather than wait to see whether the in­jured player would be ready to re­turn to ac­tion in less than two weeks.

An in­ter­na­tional play plan is part of the new agree­ment that in­cludes a pay­ment sched­ule for po­ten­tial games in Asia, Mex­ico (and else­where in Latin Amer­ica) and Bri­tain, plus U.S.-based special events such as this year’s July 3 game be­tween At­lanta and Mi­ami in a spe­cially built ball­park on a mil­i­tary base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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