It's an advantage that should go to the team with the best record. Period! Yes, that certainly imposes a greater burden on the finalists trying to deal with ticket sales, logistics, accommodations, etc. Tough! They'll find a way. ''Best record'' is the only standard that makes sense and it ought to have been that way since the first October opus, 111 years ago.
There's never been better verification of the point than the 2011 season when the Cardinals with by far the worst record of the eight post-season qualifiers got home field advantage over the Rangers who had the best record. There's no way of proving it but I'd bet the ranch there's also no way St. Louis would have pulled out their larcenous seven-game coup had they not played the last two in their chummy and very raucous backyard.
As it happens, this year the Giants who won six more games than the Tigers got home-field and deserved it. But the fact that the all-star game had anything to do with it remains ridiculous. If the erstwhile ''mid-summer night's classic'' were to have no more meaning should this ''honor'' be stripped away, then so be it. Let the thing fade away if need be. It will not be greatly missed.
Admittedly, Boss Selig's ever expanding post-season format otherwise passed its first test with a minimum of aggravation. Doubling the wild-cards added to the buzz, however regrettably. That odious gimmick is here to stay, one sadly acknowledges. But there's no way the one-game, wild-card playoff will be tolerated. It has to be adjusted to two out of three games, immediately. The one-game showdown is just too much of a crapshoot. The teams want these showdowns to be two out of three deals. So too do the TV networks recognizing it as a certain ratings and revenue booster.
Interestingly, the earlier rounds of the playoffs which tend to feature more intense and competitive action have become the more desirable attractions. As the playoffs proceed quality tends to recede. Save for last year's heavily tainted but decidedly exciting Cardinals-Rangers pier-sixer and perhaps the Yanks-Phils shebang of '09, the alleged Fall Classics of this millennium have been consistently ordinary with the '07 thing between your Red Sox and the Rockies being ''Exhibit A,'' at least until this year. Sorry about that!
The World Series has begun to suffer from Super-Bowl syndrome. The real challenge is in getting there and more often than not all the drama is expended in that process allowing for the grand finale to be too often disappointing. What baseball most needs is a genuine epic for an end-game like the 1975 gem. Dream on, McDuff!
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