Did All-Star Game rule cost Texas Rangers a World Series?

Posted Sunday, Jul. 08, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

Rangers takes

"The less games you play in a National League park, the better advantage you have. Just for the simple fact that the pitchers get to hit. Their pitchers get to hit all year, ours don't. So that gives them a big advantage."

-- Josh Hamilton

"Yes it matters. I don't know if the wins and losses are affected, but it's nice to play at home. You're more comfortable playing in front of your home crowd."

-- Ian Kinsler

"Yeah, it'd be nice to have. Look at the records when teams play at home. You never know how it would have gone." -- Mike Napoli

"I don't know. Maybe it does. If you're on the road the first two games and win one, then you go back home for three games. Win that series and it's 3-2, so now they have to win two in a row. So I don't know if it makes a big difference or not." -- Roy Oswalt

"When it comes down to it, you've got to be able to pitch at home or on the road, so you've got to make your pitches no matter what. But having the home crowd behind you and being used to the ballpark, it does make a difference." -- Matt Harrison

"You are more comfortable at home, but it's baseball no matter where you play."

-- Neftali Feliz

"We're used to having a DH, and I'd rather not have myself hitting, so it is an advantage. It's just one of those things. If we get back to the World Series, hopefully we have home field this time."

-- Derek Holland

The home-field effect

Starting in 2003, the All-Star Game has determined the home team for the World Series. Here's a look at how it's helped or hurt teams:

Year

Home-

field

Winner

Loser

Games

2003

AL

Marlins*

Yankees

4-2

2004

AL

Red Sox

Cardinals

4-0

2005

AL

White Sox

Astros

4-0

2006

AL

Cardinals*

Tigers

4-1

2007

AL

Red Sox

Rockies

4-0

2008

AL

Phillies

Rays

4-1

2009

AL

Yankees

Phillies

4-2

2010

NL

Giants

Rangers

4-1

2011

NL

Cardinals

Rangers

4-3

*Road team entire postseason

Do you think the All-Star game should determine home-field advantage in the World Series?

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

There is no middle ground.

People either want an exhibition game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series or they're not buying the campaigns that the All-Star Game now "counts."

But everybody is on the same page with regard to the importance of home-field advantage when it comes to the World Series. Yes, it matters.

Home-field advantage used to alternate between the leagues, but this year marks the 10th anniversary since MLB decided that the winner of the All-Star Game would determine it.

The AL won the first seven All-Star Games with home field at stake and went on to win four of the seven World Series. The NL has won the past two All-Star Games and has gone on to two World Series wins.

The past two years had a direct effect on the Texas Rangers, of course. They had to start their title dreams on the road, playing under NL rules.

Would home-field advantage have made a difference?

"It's important to have home field simply because you like to play more games in your ballpark," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

"But if you're in the World Series and you use that as an excuse, you shouldn't be in the World Series."

Still, a handful of plays from last year's World Series, specifically in Game 6, make you play the what-if game.

Would right fielder Nelson Cruz have had a better read on David Freese's two-run, game-tying triple in the ninth inning at Rangers Ballpark, an outfield he is more familiar with?

"I don't know. I can't tell," Cruz said. "I definitely feel more comfortable at home."

If the Rangers are at home, there is no "slash" play with starter Colby Lewis bunting into a double play with two on and no out in the second inning. Instead, with the designated hitter in use, a batter, possibly Yorvit Torrealba or Mitch Moreland, with more than 415 plate appearances on the year is at the plate rather than Lewis, who had eight plate appearances during the regular season.

The result might have been the same, but the odds would have favored the position player.

"Who knows? It is what it is," Lewis said. "You can always look at what could have happened, but who knows?"

The Cardinals went on to win one of the more memorable games in World Series history, 10-9 in 11 innings, forcing a Game 7 after being within one strike of elimination twice. The Rangers had taken a two-run lead in the 10th on a home run by Josh Hamilton, but the Cardinals tied it in the bottom half and had a walkoff victory in the 11th on a solo home run by Freese off Mark Lowe.

St. Louis closed out the series with a 6-2 victory in Game 7.

"Game 6 or 7 would have turned out differently if we would've made some pitches," Washington said. "Being in St. Louis had nothing to do with it.... I think everyone knows why we lost. We didn't make pitches, and we didn't make a couple of plays."

Texas started the 2010 World Series at San Francisco, and lost the first two games on the road.

Adjusting to the NL rules was evident in Game 1. Vladimir Guerrero, Texas' designated hitter who played 17 games in the outfield during the regular season, started in right for Game 1 and committed two errors.

That likely wasn't too big of a factor, though, as the Giants were clearly the best team, winning in five games.

"I didn't hesitate when I put Vladimir in right field, I really didn't," Washington said. "In 2010, the San Francisco Giants did everything right to win a World Series. They did everything. They pitched. They got timely hitting. They played great defense. They ran the bases. ...It was over."

Nobody in the Rangers' clubhouse said outright that either World Series would have ended up differently if the Rangers had home-field advantage. But it certainly wouldn't have hurt.

"It can only help," veteran Michael Young said. "In no way am I saying that the outcome of both World Series would have been any different -- the Giants and the Cardinals executed and played extremely well.

"At the same time, we were away from our home ballpark for two straight years because of an All-Star Game and that's not right."

Let the debate continue.

Drew Davison

817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
Cincinnati0Delayed | Box
Baltimore0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, MASN
Detroit1Bottom 6th | Box
Cleveland2@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, STO
Boston7Top 6th | Box
NY Yankees3@theBallpark | TV: NESN, YES
Philadelphia2Bottom 7th | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, SPSO
NY Mets8Top 6th | Box
Miami5@theBallpark | TV: SNY, FSN-FL
Toronto5Bottom 6th | Box
Tampa Bay2@theBallpark | TV: SNET, Sun Sports
Milwaukee1Bottom 3rd | Box
Chicago Cubs4@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, CSN-CHI+
LA Angels0Top 4th | Box
Houston4@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W, CSN-HOU
Texas0Bottom 4th | Box
Kansas City1@theBallpark | TV: FSN-SW, FSN-KC
Chicago WSox3Bottom 3rd | Box
Minnesota3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-N
Pittsburgh2Top 4th | Box
St. Louis2@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-MW
San Francisco0Bottom 2nd | Box
Colorado2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, ROOT-RM
Seattle 9/2 10:05 PM ET
Oakland TV: ROOT-NW, CSN-CA
Washington 9/2 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: MASN 2, SportsNet LA
Arizona 9/2 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 1Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
Seattle TV: NBC
Sunday
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
New England 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:25 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Carolina 4:25 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
Denver TV: NBC
Monday
NY Giants 7:10 PM ET
Detroit TV: ESPN
San Diego 10:20 PM ET
Arizona TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard