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How Much Did Bud Selig's Silly All-Star Game Rule Impact Baseball History?

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Bud Selig's decision to make the All-Star Game decide home-field advantage of the World Series remains arguably the worst and most foolish decision a commissioner of a professional sports league has ever made.

That might sound like hyperbole, but consider this: after 11 innings of an All-Star game in Milwaukee, both teams ran out of eligible players. The simple solution would be to say that players would be allowed to re-enter. After all, this was a meaningless exhibition game in the middle of the summer. But, then again, if a pitcher had already gone through his post-pitching routine, it could be considered imprudent to send that pitcher back out to the mound. So really, even deciding that the game would end in a tie was not the worst decision in the world.

Yet, turning that one rare occasion and using it to implement a nonsensical change on the most important series of the whole season went so far and above the bounds of reason that it cannot ever be properly explained. Former commissioner Bud Selig decided that the winner of a halfhearted exhibition game in early July would determine the home-field advantage of the freaking World Series. There are leaps in logic and then there are pole vaults.

(Not all the blame goes to Selig. The owners voted unanimously to approve the change. That was wild. Really, the only change that needed to be made was to stop forcing pitcher to bat in NL parks. That was the problem. And MLB didn't figure that out until 2010. Fools, the lot of them, I tell you.)

While nearly everybody with a functioning brain knew that this was a most horrible idea, it was allowed to govern baseball for 13 seasons. What type of impact the decision made cannot be exactly measured. Baseball is perhaps the most unique sport of them all in that home-field advantage sometimes plays less of a role than it does at other times. The different ballpark dimensions, different weather, indoor vs. outdoor, DH vs. no DH, crowd noise -- it all blends together to the point where you can't say one game would have turned out differently had it been played in another location.

But, in the wake of MLB correcting this egregious error, let's go back and see which teams have had home-field advantage since 2002 thanks to the All-Star Game, and which teams had their superior record over 162 games thrown into a garbage can. Because of an exhibition.

2003: Florida Marlins (91-71) vs. New York Yankees (101-61)
Home-Field Advantage: Yankees
Won Series: Marlins in six games

2004: St. Louis Cardinals (105-57) vs. Boston Red Sox (98-64)
Home-Field Advantage: Red Sox
Won Series: Red Sox in four games

2005: Houston Astros (89-73) vs. Chicago White Sox (99-63)
Home-Field Advantage: White Sox
Won Series: White Sox in four games

2006: St. Louis Cardinals (83-78) vs. Detroit Tigers (95-67)
Home-Field Advantage: Tigers
Won Series: Cardinals in five games

2007:  Colorado Rockies (90-73) vs. Boston Red Sox (96-66)
Home-Field Advantage: Red Sox
Won Series: Red Sox in four games

2008:  Philadelphia Phillies (92-70) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (97-65)
Home-Field Advantage: Rays
Won Series: Phillies in five games

2009:  Philadelphia Phillies (93-69) vs. New York Yankees (103-59)
Home-Field Advantage: Yankees
Won Series: Yankees in six games

2010:  San Francisco Giants (92-70) vs. Texas Rangers (90-72)
Home-Field Advantage: Giants
Won Series: Giants in five games

2011:  St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) vs. Texas Rangers (96-66)
Home-Field Advantage: Cardinals
Won Series: Cardinals in seven games

2012:  San Francisco Giants (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)
Home-Field Advantage: Giants
Won Series: Giants in four games

2013:  St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) vs. Boston Red Sox (97-65)
Home-Field Advantage: Red Sox
Won Series: Red Sox in six games

2014:  San Francisco Giants (88-74) vs. Kansas City Royals (89-73)
Home-Field Advantage: Royals
Won Series: Giants n seven games

2015:  New York Mets (90-72) vs. Kansas City Royals (95-67)
Home-Field Advantage: Royals
Won Series: Royals in five games

2016:  Chicago Cubs (103-58) vs. Cleveland Indians (94-67)
Home-Field Advantage: Indians
Won Series: Cubs in seven games

As you can see, just two World Series champions won a championship with home-field advantage that they didn't "deserve." One was the '04 Red Sox, and the other was the '11 Cardinals. But the '04 Red Sox won in a sweep, which is generally indicative of one team being better than the other, so it would be difficult to make the case that the series would have turned out differently had it began in St. Louis instead of Boston.

The 2011 Rangers, on the other hand, may have a gripe. But that's baseball. And if Nelson Cruz could have just caught a fly ball, we wouldn't be having that discussion in the first place.

Some winning teams might have ended up winning in different locations, but that's hardly a reason for anyone to lose one's mind. (Though the Red Sox winning at Fenway Park in 2004 would have been quite a moment. Thanks a lot, Bud.)

Looking at the results overall, it appears as though we were all just ... complaining for the sake of complaining. The decision -- while undoubtedly foolish -- appeared to have had a minimal impact in October and thus on baseball history. This year's Cubs team had the biggest case for getting the shortest end of the stick, but they overcame the inequity and managed to come away with a title.

So, we were all just kind of being babies. For all of our hemming and hawing, and for all of Selig's shortsightedness, the net impact was as close to non-existent as possible. Good to know. To make up for the lack of a revelation, here's a collection of photographs showing Selig piping fastballs down the plate.

Bud Selig
This pitch was clocked at 101 mph, a record for MLB commissioners. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Bud Selig
Fire. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Bud Selig
Another heater from the former commish. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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