Is it time to re-evaluate the MLB All-Star Game?

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Photo courtesy of Major League Baseball

Summer is in the air, which means another Major League Baseball All-Star Game is upon us. Each year, fans around the globe vote on which players they believe should participate in the main event. This seems like something we need not think twice about, until we actually do. What’s on the line at this hapless game? Oh yeah, home-field advantage in the World Series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for as much fan participation as possible. But are we as spectators being granted too much power? Should couch potatoes really have a say in which team gets home-field advantage in a Game 7?

Let’s compare this to the NBA, where the All-Star Game has become nothing more than a popularity contest. Ultimately what the All-Star break should be is a brief hiatus from the rigors of the season. Maybe the MLB thinks having so much at stake is a good idea. But why are they letting fans determine who plays in such an important ballgame? Shouldn’t the managers and players decide who they want to represent their respective league? Which then leads to an even more intriguing question: Why does the All-Star Game determine who has home-field advantage at the World Series in the first place?

This incentive has been in place since 2003, when then Commissioner Bud Selig wanted to make the Midsummer Classic more competitive after the 2002 game ended in a 7-7 tie when both teams ran out of pitching. In the 13 World Series since then, only two have gone the distance to a Game 7. The home team won in both cases. Now we’ll never know how each game would have ended had the victors not held this advantage, as more than 60 percent of the total games have been won by the home team.

Once again, a comparison to the NBA can be drawn. The squad with the better record is granted home-court advantage in the NBA Finals. Although home-field advantage in baseball is not as important as home-court advantage in basketball, it still makes no sense to reward a team solely off of one fluke game.

It’s time Commissioner Rob Manfred realizes the play during the 162-game season should determine which team earns home-field advantage. Until that happens, enjoy watching what remains to be the single most meaningful game of the regular season, the 87th MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday July 12. Play ball!