Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

For today's second Commish For A Day installment, I'm turning the platform over to Zach Sanders of MLB Notebook, a veritable smorgasboard of baseball goodies. Zach's "About Me" section reads as follows: MLB Notebook is run by Zach Sanders. Zach has also done work for KFFL, and was the managing editor of the now defunct 24/7 Sports Stop. Zach is a member of SABR, and a part of the Business of Baseball and Statistical Analysis committees.

If I were Commissioner for a day, I would get rid of the "Winner takes Home Field" aspect of the All-Star game. I would do this within my first 30 seconds in office.

The seriousness the All-Star game takes away from the purpose of it - to have fun! Think of the rest of All-Star weekend, it's all about the players having fun. The homer run derby, and the softball game is fun for the fans and players alike, because there is nothing on the line to worry about. Think about the NBA. Basketball's All-Star game is fun to watch, because it is a high flying event with a focus on

Another problem is the lack of control the teams in the World Series tend to have over the outcome. If a team has 1-3 players on the roster, can the team really help if the All-Star team loses? Next stop is a solution. Best record in the regular season sounds like a fairly reasonable solution, but it's not the best one. The MLB should do what the NFL does: Neutral sites. We all witnessed the problems with big games in cold weather cities in this past World Series. Cities in the southern half of the county and teams with closed room stadiums (or retractable ones) should be allowed to host.

Of course, this would need more specifictions to deal with revenue sharing between the host team and the two World Series participants, but that's a whole different issue.
Personally, I think the "this game counts" idea for the ASG is crap, and that's being kind. I'm not in Zach's camp on neutral sites, as you might remember, but I do think regular season records would be the way to go.

In fact, I was yelling kinda loudly against the "we need a neutral site NOW" crowd this past October.

I understand how it works for football (one game, early February dates, etc.) but it can't work for baseball.

It's not just taking the game from the local fans, it's the essential stealing of money from the local economies that participate in the game. Remember,
it IS about the money, stupid. Why reward a neutral site city, one that doesn't have its own team and little chance of landing one?

We can cry about the fans who won't get to go see the games in person, but we all know that most of the tickets are snapped up by the corporates or are priced out of reach for mere mortals. Besides, the games start so damn late that the kids aren't there anyways. But the real reason this can't (and won't) happen is CASH.

The City of Philadelphia boosted their budget by an estimated $20million from this playoff run alone. Think they would willingly let that money flow to Nashville? Me either.

For previous CFAD entries:
  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS


Carl the Big Fool said...

Boo to neutral site World Series. The money issue is important, but it would also deprive a lot of hometown fans the chance to see their favorite team play for a championship. It's slightly more feasible for football, where it's one game. But really, how many people attending the Super Bowl in two weeks will be die-hard Cardinals or Steelers fans? Not enough. For most fans, the thought of going to the Super Bowl is a pipe dream. Asking fans to travel for a seven-game series would be just mean.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I agree with Carl and Jason on the neutral site thing, but I love the All-Star Game thing. It's so stupid that they give home-field advantage to the winner. Will the NFL start doing that when they idiotically move the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl?

Zach Sanders said...

I'm not entirely in favor of a neutral site, but I would prefer it over a single World Series game going for a week due to weather.

If there is a better system out there (besides best record), someone let me know and I will gladly support it.

Perhaps Bill James' Pythagorean formula? Shows how much a team should have won. Team with the highest number gets home field. Not entirely sure, just rambling on.

Andrew said...

Since we have Interleague play, I think the league with the best interleague record should get home field. It is hard to definitively say one team is better than the other so they should have home field, but if one league is better, that means that team had a tougher road to get there.

dinologic (Dean D) said...

Neutral site for the WS is the absolute worst idea and quite frankly, I'm surprised that there is any support for it at all. A football field is the same no matter what stadium you're in. Baseball fields are not and it's an integral part of the appeal and history of the game.

Could you imagine a World Series game involving the Red Sox not being played at Fenway with the monster? Or Yankee Stadium without the short porch? Or Wrigley without the ivy? Come on. Every ballpark has it's own flavor (even for the Mets, now!) and it would be a travesty to not allow that to continue.

As for having a WS game take a week to be played, they can help avoid that by shortening the schedule. They can still play 162 games if they want - just add a handful of doubleheaders to the schedule and more November baseball. Make 'em day-nighters to keep the owners happy and I think it's a win for everyone.

The best-case scenario, which may be financially impractical especially these days is to fit every stadium with a retractable roof (where it's necessary). In a perfect world, I think that's the best solution. But it also comes wtih its own set of problems.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

I completely agree, Dino. 110%

Vasya said...

Could you imagine a World Series game involving the Red Sox not being played at Fenway with the monster? Or Yankee Stadium without the short porch? Or Wrigley without the ivy? Come on. Every ballpark has it's own flavor (even for the Mets, now!) and it would be a travesty to not allow that to continue.

I can't imagine a World Series game being played in Wrigley Field at all, but yeah, I'm with you.