The Chicago Cubs had the best record in baseball this season, but they still traveled to Cleveland for Game 1 of the World Series because the American League won Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
It appears the league’s new collective bargaining agreement will change that, however.
Starting in 2017, the Midsummer Classic no longer will determine which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series, a person familiar with the new CBA told The Associated Press. Game 1 instead will be hosted by the pennant winner with the better regular season record.
For 14 years, MLB’s All-Star Game was the only such event in the Big Four sports that impacted postseason play. The league instituted the home-field advantage rule following the 2002 All-Star Game, which embarrassingly ended in a 7-7 tie and drew complaints that the contest wasn’t competitive enough.
The AL benefited greatly from the “This Time It Counts” rule, winning the All-Star Game in 11 of those 14 years to earn home field. The Boston Red Sox were among the first beneficiaries; they hosted the 2004 World Series despite winning 98 regular season games to the NL champion Cardinals’ 105 and went on to sweep St. Louis for their first title in 86 years.
AL teams won the World Series in eight of those 14 years.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images