ASG outcome has big impact on World Series
Club with home-field advantage has won eight of past 12 championships
CINCINNATI -- Thirteen years ago, in his hometown of Milwaukee, then-Commissioner Bud Selig sat in his seat alongside the National League dugout for the All-Star Game at Miller Park, and his look of concern was obvious. With the managers trying to make sure everybody got into the game, they ran out of players. The game ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings.
And a new era began for Major League Baseball.
Wanting to add more significance to the All-Star Game, Selig mandated that the league that won the All-Star Game would get home-field advantage in the World Series that year, and the All-Star Game would be played until a winner was decided. Prior to 2003, home-field advantage for the Fall Classic alternated between leagues from one year to the next.
Thirteen years later, little else has changed.
The American League won nine of 12 All-Star Games prior to 2002, and the Junior Circuit has won nine of 12 Midsummer Classics since '02.
The managers have shown at least a slight inclination to use the reserves more, but they have also have used more pitchers -- an outgrowth created, in part, by expanding rosters.
In the 11 nine-inning All-Star Games during the 12 years prior to 2002 -- the 1994 game went 10 innings -- the starting nine received 60.4 percent of the plate appearances: 58.9 percent on the AL teams and 62.1 percent on the National League teams. In the 11 nine-inning All-Star Games since '02 -- the '08 game went 12 innings -- those percentages have decreased, with the starters receiving 56 percent of the at-bats: 55.7 percent in the AL and 56.4 percent in the NL.
Also, in the 11 nine-inning games prior to 2002, the two teams used average of 15 pitchers per game combined, compared to an average 18 pitchers in the 11 nine-inning games since 2002.
That the percentage of plate appearances by starters has declined since World Series' home-field advantage became linked to the winner of the All-Star Game could show an inclination by managers to substitute earlier and go with the players added by player vote or managers' discretion, instead of the starting lineup selected by fan vote.
And the impact of the home-field advantage? Well, the team with the advantage won nine of the 11 World Series in the 12 years prior to 2002 (the 1994 World Series was canceled because of the player strike), and eight of 12 since. The AL won seven of the 11 Series prior to 2002, but it has won only five of the 12 since 2002.
Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett, in his 17th big league season, is making his first All-Star appearance. Burnett has 162 career wins. There are six pitchers who have played during the All-Star era and have earned more than 160 career victories without an All-Star appearance: Mike Torrez (185 wins), Danny Darwin (171), Bob Forsch (168), Paul Splittorff (166), Bill Gullickson (162) and Mike Moore (161).
After back-to-back nights with rain delays in excess of two hours, the Rockies were uninterrupted in their 5-3 victory against the Braves on Friday night, but the postgame fireworks show was delayed more than 30 minutes because of lightning and thunderstorms in the area.
It's been a wet first half at Coors Field, where the Rockies have sat through 16 weather delays that lasted a combined 22 hours, 24 minutes, in addition to four other games that were postponed.
The delayed games included two in which there were two delays in the same game, both against the Dodgers. The Rockies lost a 2-1, six-inning, rain-shortened game that included delays of one hour, 40 minutes and one hour, four minutes on May 8. The Rox beat the Dodgers, 7-6, in a June 3 game that included delays of two hours, 10 minutes and 16 minutes.
This season, five Rockies delays were longer than two hours, and 11 have lasted longer than an hour.
What's the difference?
Four managerial changes have been made so far this season.
• The Brewers went into Saturday with a 30-33 record since Craig Counsell replaced Ron Roenicke, who got off to a 7-18 start.
• The Marlins are 20-29 since Dan Jennings took over for Mike Redmond, who was 16-22.
• The Padres are 7-15 since Pat Murphy replaced Bud Black, who was 32-34.
• The Phillies are 3-12 since Pete Mackanin replaced Ryne Sandberg, who stepped down after a 26-48 start.
Saturday is the 101st anniversary of Babe Ruth's big league debut. Pitching for the Boston Red Sox, he earned a win in a 4-3 victory and struck out in his first Majors at-bat. It is also the 47th anniversary of Earl Weaver replacing Hank Bauer as manager of the Orioles. Weaver would go on to claim a spot in the Hall of Fame, managing 1,480 victories with a .583 winning percentage.
Sunday is the 66th anniversary of the 1949 All-Star Game. On that day, Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe became the first African-American players to appear in an All-Star Game. The AL won, 11-7.
• It's been a tough week for the Astros, who lost six of seven games going into Saturday and saw their AL West lead shrink to a half-game over the Angels, who have won six of seven. Both teams have been on the road during that stretch. The Astros have hit .225 and scored 18 runs, while the Angels have hit .330 and scored 47 runs.
• Giants manager Bruce Bochy will be managing an All-Star Game for the fourth time. The all-time record is held by Casey Stengel, who managed 10 All-Star Games.
• Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went into Saturday with a 21-game hitting streak and a 36-game on-base streak, both the longest active streaks in the Majors. During the on-base streak, which dates back to May 26, he is hitting .367, tops among Major League hitters.