While I agree with the decision that was made, I miss how serious the MLB All-Star Game was. Usually All-Star games are meant to be good fun, but Major League Baseball managed to make theirs the absolute best. I really miss how the All-Star Game used to work as it made the game even more interesting. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, why don’t you just follow along.
In 2002, MLB held the All-Star Game in Milwaukee. While it was a fun game to watch, MLB commissioner Bud Selig decided to end the contest after 11th inning and it was a 7-7 tie. Fans were upset with how that decision and Selig thought something needed to be done to get fans interested in the All-Star Game again. So, he decided to change the format of the game that would make it more fun to watch. And you know what? It worked.
For the 2003 All-Star Game and on, the contest would decide which league would hold home-field advantage in the World Series. It used to be that home-field advantage would alternate between the American and National League every year (i.e. an AL team would hold home field advantage in 2000, the NL would hold the advantage in 2001, then back to the AL in 2002). However, that would no longer be the case as the All-Star Game would decide who would hold it. They even had a great slogan: “This Time It Counts”
What was great about it was that it set up some really fun games to watch and there was a lot of strategy involved. It really had the managers strategically use the best players in baseball in order to win and help their league win home-field advantage which they could use if their team was still in the playoff hunt and they could even hold back players from playing just in case an extra inning situation did happen. Even the players were playing hard because they wanted to help their teams if they were in the playoff hunt and to get their squads the home field advantage if they advanced to the World Series. It truly made the All-Star Game great to watch as it gave some exciting moments to watch and it made it more competitive. That’s what fans want to see, a competitive game.
However, the MLB All-Star Game had always been great as it was very competitive before the new format began. For many years there had been a lot of tension between the NL and AL as they all legitimately hated one another. Because of that, the players truly wanted to win the game to show which league was better and because they just wanted to beat the other one. It was truly a great “rivalry” back in the days. The hatred has since fizzled, but the “rivalry” still rages on. Both leagues are now on friendly terms, but it has become more so of bragging rights than anything else. Once they introduced the new rule to the game, there was more intrigue and it made the “rivalry” even better. That changed after the 2016 season when it was agreed upon to get rid of that rule making the All-Star Game just an exhibition and it didn’t count anymore. Home-field advantage would now be determined by which team in the World Series had the best record in the regular season.
While MLB got it right and I agree home-field advantage should be determined by teams with the best record, I will still miss the old format. Lot’s of people thought it was stupid, but if you did think that, you missed what was so great about how it worked. It’s too bad it’s gone as it truly made the best All-Star Game in sports even better.