SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA • MLB team owners voted unanimously on this day in baseball history to have the annual all-star game be more than an exhibition. Starting with the 2003 contest, the league that wins the all-star game will have home field advantage for the World Series.
Fifteen of the previous seventeen World Series champions (before the 2003 rule change) had home-field advantage. The two leagues had been alternating home field advantage since it began in 1903.
The move was precipitated by an embarrassing situation at the previous year’s all-star classic in 2002. Commissioner Bud Selig was forced to call the game, being played in his hometown of Milwaukee, in the 11th inning with it tied 7-7 because both teams ran out of pitchers.
The thinking now is that won’t happen again because the teams will be playing to win not just to get everyone in the game. Teams will be urged to save pitchers and other position players for the eventuality of the game going into extra innings.
*As a postscript, since 2003 the American League has had home field advantage 11 times to the National League’s 3. But the National League has been on the winning side of the World Series 8 times to the American League’s 6.
** Postscript #2, As of December 2016, the owners changed the home-field-advantage rule again. Starting with the 2017 post-season, home field advantage for the World Series will not go to the league that wins the All-star game. It will go to the World Series team with the best regular season record.
MLB All-Star game