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Time to Reward the Best

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Time to Reward the Best

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)


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By Drew Casey 

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians will have home field advantage to start the World Series. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

As the 2016 World Series continues, it’s time to change the way home field advantage is determined for the annual Fall Classic.

Despite dominating the early rounds of this year’s playoffs, the 94-win Indians do not deserve to be the home team over the 103-win Cubs. It just doesn’t make sense. The best team over the course of a grueling, 162-game season more than deserves the advantage to play four of a possible seven games at its home ballpark.

Since 2003, home field in the seven game series has been determined by the result of the season’s All-Star Game months earlier. The victorious team in the Midsummer Classic is rewarded with its pennant winner enjoying home field advantage in the same year’s World Series. Regardless of playoff seed or path to playoff qualification among the pennant winners, the method of determining home field does not change. It’s simply based on the All-Star Game result.

Some might say that home field advantage in the World Series doesn’t mean much and thus this argument is invalid, but that is not the case. Since this became the policy, nine of the last 13 World Series champions have taken home the crown with home field advantage at their disposal.

My biggest frustration with all of this, though, is centered on the structure of the annual All-Star Game. First, every Big League club must be represented in the Midsummer Classic. As a result of this requirement, each All-Star team is not made up of the league’s best players. Some of the league’s best individual talents have to be left off to accommodate the biggest “star” on a struggling club.

Another issue is the place of the fan vote in the All-Star Game. Fans pick the starters for the game, with the exception of the starting pitchers. As evidenced, especially in the past two years, this can result in vote inflation and unfair voting practices. In 2015 Royals fans rallied to nearly select an entire Kansas City starting lineup, while earlier this year Cubs supporters voted an all North Side infield into the Midsummer Classic in San Diego.

Third, if an All-Star manager should do his best to get everyone into the game on precedent, how can the game count for so much? A manager or coach who wants to win cannot work effectively with such a prevalent unwritten rule on the table.

By no means am I suggesting that Major League Baseball abolish the All-Star Game.

They should simply make it an exhibition of the game’s biggest stars. Fans will still tune in and look forward to the game each July.

In a time when the sport is transitioning to adapt to the baseball fan of 2016, the process of awarding home field advantage in the World Series goes against the very integrity of America’s pastime.

While the bases are still 90 feet apart both in Cleveland and in Chicago, I would certainly be frustrated as a Cubs fan, and not just because it’s been 108 years.

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