It’s July of 2017, and Joe Maddon is managing the NL All Stars in an effort to secure his 63-27 Cubs home field advantage in the World Series–just a year removed from losing to Cleveland in the fall classic.
No, playing at home isn’t the advantage it’s often portrayed at the water cooler, but you’d think it would be a perk of a 103-win team.
But logistics, they say, make it necessary to know who would host which sets of games well before both leagues’ LCS ends. Is Cleveland’s outdoor Progressive Field’s calendar booked solid in October? We don’t predetermine the site of the LCS game 1.
But back to the future, and next year’s All Star Game. Joe Maddon isn’t managing with a heavy heart for the Denver fans who want to see DJ Lemahieu swing at sea level against the Rays’ Alex Colome.
Nope, he may be inclined to keep the half dozen or so Cubs starters in the ballgame for the long haul. Jon Lester’s turn in the Cubs rotation the Saturday before the break? That was delayed in favor of the much more influential
exhibition game on Tuesday.
Clayton Kershaw threw a gem for the Dodgers on Saturday, and Dave Roberts has him penciled in to open the 2nd half against division rival San Francisco? Sorry, Dave, this one counts, says Joe, in his favorite travel zoot suit. Kershaw will spell Lester in the NL bullpen, for the good of the Cubs.
There are 10 better ways to determine home field, if not 20.
If MLB insists upon awarding a league, versus a team, shouldn’t it put a premium on interleague play and not the All Star Game?
Perhaps, as a nod to logistics, pre-determine the site for the first and second pairs of games, but award the better regular season team games 5-6-7 at their home field? (This five out of seven imbalance is not ideal, but is it not better than the status quo?)
One of these years, you’ll see an 83-win team upend a 96-win team in the wild card round, and then that same team enjoy home field versus a 105-winner in the World Series.
Like a lot of bad rules, the agent of change will be someone willing to exploit it.
A team that wins a 162-game marathon can overcome not playing at home game 1.
But it’s without reason that it play on the road in a game 7.