By all accounts, Major League Baseball has changed the way it determines home field advantage for the World Series. For years, they used to simply alternate between leagues. Then, they changed it to the league that won the All-Star game. Now it appears that home field advantage will be given to the team with the best regular season record.
I have a couple problems with this.
The first is pretty minor. This is inconvenient for fans. As it is, fans are asked to buy tickets to earlier round games before they know when they are. Like last season. The Sox didn’t know if they were going to be the second or third seed for quite some time. That would determine whether they would host games one and two, or three and four. It almost came down to Sunday before they found out if they would play on Wednesday or not. So, if you’re a fan buying a ticket to Home Game 1, is that mid-week? Is it late week? That’s annoying. At least you knew when the World Series was. If you bought game 1 tickets, you knew the date of the game. The only question you had was if it would be played or not. You didn’t need to clear your schedule on two potential days. Now, even World Series games would be up in the air, potentially until just a couple days ahead of time. That’s really annoying.
My other complaint is on a larger scale. Go back in time to 1903 and the first modern World Series. There were two pretty distinct leagues, the AL and NH. Each league crowned a champion, like it had always done. But, which league’s champion was better? Only way to find out is to have them play. So they did. For the pride of the league. As the Series became a regular thing, swapping home field advantage seemed as fair as any other. Then, they decided to fix it to the all-star game. That made sense. Which league got to host the World Series? Why, the league that was the best, of course. After all, the Cubs weren’t in the World Series because they were the best team in Chicago. No, they were in the Series because the NL decided they were the best team in their league.
But, making home field based on regular season record takes the league right out of it. Now it’s determined by how teams perform against a selection of teams. Not even the same selection of teams. So, it’s not an award to the League. It’s an award to the team. That seems wrong.
Bob Costas has been known to refer to the World Series as the “MLB Finals.” After all, with all these playoff rounds, it’s not a series between leagues. It’s a tournament. This is one more step towards that. It takes the league element completely out of it.
At this point, why bother with the two leagues? Why not take the sixteen teams with the best records, no matter which league? Better yet, do what I suggested to do years ago.
This is just one more step towards sanitizing the whole thing. It’s getting farther and farther from the original intent. It’s losing the charm. It’s losing the meaning.
It’s just another tournament now.