The Texas Rangers didn’t lose the World Series in the cold October weather in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday night. Instead they lost it when their own pitcher, C.J. Wilson, lost the All-Star Game in the heat of the Arizona desert almost four months ago. Thanks to the star player of the Cardinals’ biggest rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis enjoyed home-field advantage in games six and seven.
When Prince Fielder hit the All-Star Game winning home run off of Wilson, he assured the National League home-field advantage in the World Series. One of Bud Selig’s most notable mistakes probably cost the Rangers the World Series.
Now I’m not trying to take anything away from the destiny-driven Cardinals, but the Rangers don’t lose game six if it’s at the ballpark at Arlington. A lot of things could have happened differently if the Rangers had home-field advantage so there’s no guarantee that Texas would have won with home-field advantage, but given the fact that the Cardinals couldn’t make a simple pitching change in Texas makes me think they would have had a good chance at holding serve at home.
The fact that a wildcard team with six less regular-season wins than their opponent had home-field advantage over them is a farce. This all started back in 2002 when the All-Star Game ended in a tie. Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball who ultimately made the decision to end the game in a tie, panicked. He radically decided to make the All-Star Game mean something by having the game determine who receives home-field advantage in the World Series. Yep, seriously.
Instead of, I don’t know, just letting the game be played like baseball and go into more extra innings until someone won, Selig went overboard.
So while game six highlighted the many inherent qualities that make baseball the greatest sport on earth, it also reminded us of the many management problems within the game. While the NFL, America’s favorite sport, is evolving with the times, baseball is stuck in the past.
If it were up to me, I would change many things in the way Major League Baseball is run, here are three:
First and foremost, the All-Star Game should not determine home-field advantage in the World Series. Teams play 162 games during the regular season to determine who the best teams are, then we get to the World Series and throw all that out the window. It doesn’t matter that Texas won six more games during the regular season. If you ask me, the 162-game regular season is a better determinant of the better team than a seven-game series anyways.
Second, both leagues need to play the same game. As evidenced by the World Series, the National League (without the DH) plays a completely different style of baseball than the American League (with the DH). It doesn’t matter which, but either get rid of the DH or implement it in both leagues. It puts the American League at a huge disadvantage in the World Series.
The players union would have a fit if they tried to get rid of the DH, so I would be in favor of implementing the DH across baseball. I know that that stance is not popular after this World Series, but it’s the most practical way to do it. And let’s face it, who actually wants to watch the pitcher hit. If Ron Washington would have left Neftali Feliz in the game, the World Series likely would have ended with a pitcher at the plate.
Third, I would implement instant replay more widely. You can’t touch the strike zone, but it’s simple to do it on fair/foul plays, catch/trap calls, and plays on the base paths. Let’s get it right, so historic games like game six aren’t determined on a bad call.
Again, I don’t want to take anything away from the Cardinals, they may have won it anyways, but all I could think about as I watched games six and seven was that it should have been played in Texas.
Trevor Amicone is the sports director at 88.1 Weber FM and is a popular contributor to KSL.com and the Deseret News. You can check out his website: TrevorsTopTens.com or follow him on twitter at @TrevorAmicone.