Selig believes in All-Star format
Commissioner remains a proponent of home-field prize
DETROIT -- This year once again it counted and the American League took full advantage of it. And if it's up to Commissioner Bud Selig, the All-Star Game will count again next year.Selig said he was still bullish on the three-year-old format after the American League vanquished the National League again on Tuesday night -- this time 7-5 at Comerica Park. Since the 2003 game at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, the league that glitters on All-Star night wins home-field advantage in the World Series. The AL has won all three of those games, giving it home field for the fourth straight October. "We'll have to talk it over again with the players association because we definitely want to bring it back again next year," he said after awarding Baltimore's Miguel Tejada the Ted Williams MVP Award presented by Chevrolet on the field after the game. "It's really not an issue for collective bargaining. It's a year-to-year thing." So far, home-field advantage in the World Series has meant little since the new format was put into place. The New York Yankees had it in 2003 and lost the sixth and final game of that series to the Florida Marlins at Yankee Stadium. The Boston Red Sox had it last fall, but swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years. But some year, home-field advantage is again going to make a difference, like it did for the Angels over the Giants in 2002 and the Diamondbacks over the Yankees in 2001. Both of those Fall Classics went the distance, and playing Game 7 was pivotal on the winning team's home field. "Well, getting it means a lot, because right now, we're doing pretty good in the race," said Tejada, whose Orioles head into the second half battling the Yankees and Red Sox for the AL East title. "You never know what might happen when you get to the World Series. Now we've improved our chances. When you have the home-field advantage it's better."
The current All-Star format was the brainchild of Philadelphia Phillies chairman Bill Giles. It was embraced by Selig and instituted unanimously by the owners after the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie because both teams ran out of pitchers."There are people who don't like it," Selig said. "Every change we've ever made has been controversial. In a practical way, I thought then and I still do that not only could we re-energize the game, but it would help us in other ways. One year, the AL had home-field advantage, the next year the NL had it. It wasn't Einstein's theory of relativity, that's for sure. It was a no-brainer. Now there's some drama to it." The first year in Chicago, Hank Blalock of the Texas Rangers pinch-hit late in the game and jolted a two-run homer that gave the AL a come-from-behind, 7-6, victory. The last two AL victories have been more mundane, although Selig liked the NL's spirit on Tuesday as it came back from a 7-0 deficit only to fall short in the ninth inning. "The National League battled right to the very end," Selig said. "It has been a good four-day celebration for baseball. The city of Detroit did itself proud."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.