WASHINGTON — Marlins ace Jose Fernandez offered the latest reminder Monday of why home field advantage in the World Series doesn’t belong tethered to the results of an exhibition game.
A relic of former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, initiated after he was forced to declare the 2002 All-Star Game a 7-7 tie after 11 innings, the annual mid-summer classic has represented home field advantage in the World Series for the past 13 years and counting.
The National League has gone without home field advantage in 10 of the past 13 World Series — save for three straight NL victories between 2010 and 2012 — as a result of this arcane notion that players will fall in line every year in treating the All-Star Game seriously.
This isn’t to dump on Fernandez. He’s the latest to express publicly a commonly held opinion. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright copped to grooving “a couple pipe shots” to Derek Jeter during Jeter’s All-Star swan song in 2014.
Jeter launched a lead-off double, the first strike in a three-run inning for the American League, which went on to win 5-3, securing home field advantage in the World Series for the AL.
Wainwright later back-tracked from his remarks, of course.
It’s not just the players feigning interest. Would Mets manager Terry Collins, this year’s NL skipper, scratch Noah Syndergaard days before if he truly cared about the outcome of the All-Star Game?
The full quote from Fernandez: “José Fernández told me that if he faces David Ortiz he’s going to groove three fastballs down the middle… so he can hit a monster HR in his last All-Star Game!”
Do those sound like the words of a person concerned with the outcome?
So either don’t play Fernandez and strip fans of their lineup-voting privileges — neither of which are happening — or simply say, ‘Sorry, Bud,’ this was a failed experiment and we have 13 years of evidence to prove it.
Thanks to Hardball Talk for sharing.