SAN DIEGO -- We need to drop the "Junior Circuit" terminology from contemporary baseball usage.Once again on Tuesday night, there was nothing particularly "junior" in yet another All-Star Game victory for the American League led by -- who else? -- those intrepid Kansas City Royals.First baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher
SAN DIEGO -- We need to drop the "Junior Circuit" terminology from contemporary baseball usage.
Once again on Tuesday night, there was nothing particularly "junior" in yet another All-Star Game victory for the American League led by -- who else? -- those intrepid Kansas City Royals.
First baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez each homered and drove in two runs for the AL in a 4-2 win over the National League at Petco Park. Hosmer was named Most Valuable Player in his first All-Star Game.
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"It was an unbelievable feeling," Perez said of his two-run shot in the second. "I was happy I was able to come here and perform like that.
"And now, I'm even more excited, because I hear my brother, Hosmer, is the MVP."
These Royals are close. And, of course, setup man supreme Kelvin Herrera added his usual spotless inning, in this case, the sixth.
And of course, the AL manager was Kansas City's Ned Yost, with his coaching staff on hand. Yost had been plotting, planning, looking at the strategic possibilities in the All-Star Game for weeks, looking at roster options, lineup alternatives and the order of pitchers' appearances. As a man who managed the 2015 World Series winners, with home-field advantage in hand, Yost fully understood the significance.
"You know, we play for a common cause, and that's home-field advantage for the American League," Yost said. "And guys buy into it."
And it was especially sweet for Yost that two of his guys provided four RBIs.
"I was so proud of Hoz when he hit that ball and Salvy when he hit it," Yost said. "I felt like a proud papa there in the second inning after those two guys gave us the lead, and I was really excited. It's been a long time since I've been that proud of two players in a moment like that, and that was really special for me."
And so, the AL is 22-6-1 in the past 29 All-Star Games. The AL also won the past four Midsummer Classics.
And the AL has won the Interleague Play season series for 12 straight years and is leading in a 13th. A subtle trend seems to be emerging.
You could have forgiven the AL squad a certain amount of confusion on Tuesday night. They were playing in San Diego, clearly a NL city, in Petco Park, clearly a NL ballpark.
Yet, the AL was the home team. This occurred because All-Star home-field advantage alternates on a yearly basis. But since this is second of what will be four straight All-Star Games in NL cities, the AL got to bat last and also had the home clubhouse, which would also be the nicer, larger clubhouse.
But the big thing wasn't home field for this game. It was home-field advantage for the World Series. The team with home-field advantage has won nine of 13 World Series played since that advantage was determined by which league won the All-Star Game.
The Royals, suffering through injuries to important personnel, have not had the sort of season that brought them to the World Series the past two seasons. But they are hardly out of range, and this All-Star triumph, so much a Royals victory, might provide some momentum.
"Hopefully this is something we can all rally upon for the second half and find a way to use that home-field advantage," Hosmer said. "But, you know, everybody in the locker room met before the game and Ned said: 'We don't know who is going to be in the World Series. We don't know who is going to be representing the American League, but we know how much that home-field advantage helped us.'
"And when you are talking the first two games of the World Series at your home field, it just brings that sense of comfort to the team and gives you a jump start for the whole series. We're glad that we could secure it for the American League, and it's something we all set out to accomplish before the game started."
This was the ultimate payoff for being a World Series team and then a World Series winner.
"It's awesome," Hosmer said. "All the benefits that come with winning a World [Series] championship, you get to have your whole coaching staff here, so it's really cool. It's really cool to get to share this with those guys and just kind of live out the whole experience with the guys that I know the best in Kansas City, the coaching staff."
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com.