Crasnick: Should the All-Star Game still ‘count’?

From SABR member Jerry Crasnick at on July 10, 2012:

Welcome to the 10th annual installment of MLB’s “This One Counts” initiative. Commissioner Bud Selig’s baby has reached the preadolescent stage, and it’s either a welcome innovation or the most harebrained scheme in the history of mankind, depending on which radio talk show host you favor.

We all know the genesis for the current system. Ten years ago in Milwaukee, Major League Baseball suffered the mother of all embarrassments when managers Joe Torre and Bob Brenly ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning on the way to a 7-7 tie at Miller Park. In a precursor to the Southwest Airlines “Wanna Get Away?” campaign, Selig threw his arms in the air in consternation in a photo that proved to be the bane of his existence.

“I did the only thing I could at the time,” Selig told ESPN’s Jim Caple in a subsequent interview. “It broke my heart.”

Long story short: Baseball, with significant prodding from its broadcast partners at Fox and the approval of the players’ association, decided to imbue the All-Star Game with a renewed sense of importance by raising the stakes. Since 2003, the league that wins the All-Star Game has been granted home-field advantage for the World Series.

You can argue that the change has resulted in a more competitive and enjoyable Midsummer Classic. Of the first nine games under the system, seven have been decided by one or two runs. In 2003, Hank Blalock’s eighth-inning home run off the indomitable Eric Gagne gave the AL a 7-6 victory and World Series home field. Five years later, the AL beat the NL 4-3 in 15 innings to give Yankee Stadium a fittingly dramatic sendoff.

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Originally published: July 10, 2012. Last Updated: July 10, 2012.