So the summer classic took place in Cincinnati yesterday with the American League claiming victory 6-3. The spoils of such a hard fought, micro-managed affair (tongue in cheek firmly)? Home field advantage in the World Series this fall. So if my Cleveland Indians are able to right the leaky, barely afloat ship currently held together by unsightly duct tape – they will have the advantage in the World Series even if they are the wild card entrant! Oh yeah. It just got real!
How do the other major professional sports in the United States settle who gets the ‘home’ advantage? The NFL takes that out of the equation by having the Superbowl site predetermined. The only caveat is sometimes it is a stadium currently housing an existing NFL franchise so there could be a ‘home’ game if that team gets into the playoffs and runs the table to get there. In the NBA, the team with the best record gets home court advantage (that’s just weird). Same goes for the NHL with best record earning the President’s Cup trophy and the home ice advantage. I do not acknowledge soccer to be a major professional sport in the U.S., sorry and thank you.
OK for the sake of argument how about we shake up those other sports?
How would I do that you ask? I’m glad you asked. How about in the NBA, the NBA Finals home court is decided by the NBA All-star weekend Slam Dunk competition. The player who has the best dunk, as voted by the judges (because that is as legit as it gets – figure skating judges on line one), earns home court advantage for his conference. And to further spice this up, that player holds that power for his conference. So say a team in the eastern conference wants to trade for the dunk champion who won it for the western conference – the home court could basically be traded for! This could get interesting if the dunk champion is playing on a non-contender who sees the opportunity to trade this player (who’s stock will probably never be higher) to a contender who may have a legit chance to make it to the finals. Intrigued??
Same deal goes in the NHL. For the NHL All-star weekend, the player with the hardest slap shot on the radar gun earns his conference home ice advantage. Then of course the same trading scenarios apply. Oh yeah. Reinforce that plexiglass behind the goal or somebody is going to die!
Lastly in the NFL, since it is predetermined (the site not the game – or is it?) and unless the hosting city’s franchise defies the odds and makes it to the big game – nothing really can be changed…except the uniforms. So the player in the regular season, that has the longest single punt, earns his conference their choice of uniforms in the Superbowl. Not that big of a deal right? Hold on. What about the conference that did not win the punt off? Well that conference has to wear uniforms that have a horizontal thin stripe pattern of neon pink, fire engine red, off-white and poo-poo brown. Millions of viewers world wide will drop onto the floor in convulsive seizures. The really messed up thing…people will still want to buy these hideous uniforms to wear at home and in public.
So in a roundabout way I am poking fun the the Major League Baseball All-star game or more decidedly that they use it to factor into crowning their champion. It’s a game for the people as decided by the people (for the most part). In case you were wondering, the current system was put into place in 2003 following the 2002 All-star game that ended in a tie. During the 2002 game, all the available players (pitchers) were used to get everyone into the game. Since baseball is not like the other major professional sports where players can re-enter a contest; once a player is taken out he is done. So instead of making a late inning exception for 3-4 players on each side in case of a tie with a re-entry rule (it is only an exhibition correct?), MLB went off the page and tried to make the game mean more than it should. But hey it’s good fodder for sports talk shows and sitting in the dugout at softball during a rain delay.
And as I sometimes do on the topic of baseball I am going to tie this alteration in baseball history back to my Cleveland Indians. How you may ask? Well the National League was winning that ill-fated All-star contest in 2002 by a score of 7-6 until Omar Vizquel, who was a fixture at shortstop for the Indians (but played the All-star game at second base this time), came through in the eighth inning with an RBI triple to tie the score at 7. Which is the way it ended after the 11th inning.
So see baseball needs me in at least a consulting capacity. Or at least for comic relief.
Happy Hump Day Everyone!