Rangers have home field over D-backs in World Series

October 25th, 2023

Over the years, home-field advantage in the World Series has been decided in different ways. But in 2023, it's pretty simple.

  1. The team with the higher regular-season win percentage earns the home field, regardless of whether that team won its division title or a Wild Card berth. That means playing host to Games 1-2 and 6-7 (if necessary).
  1. If two teams have the same regular-season win percentage, the tiebreaker is head-to-head record, which is possible now that every team faces every other team in at least one series. 

Here is a look at the final two teams in the 2023 postseason field, ranked by home-field advantage priority. In other words, whichever team is ranked higher on this list earns home field.

1. Texas Rangers: 90-72, .556
2. Arizona Diamondbacks: 84-78, .519

The Rangers, who beat the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday night, were guaranteed home-field advantage in the World Series, regardless of which team came out on top in Game 7 of the NLCS on Tuesday. After Arizona stunned Philadelphia, the AL champions will now host the D-backs in Game 1 of the 2023 World Series at Globe Life Field on Friday.

What is the series schedule?

Here is the schedule for the 119th Fall Classic. All games are slated for an 8:03 p.m. ET first pitch and will be televised on FOX.

Game 1: Friday at Globe Life Field (Texas)
Game 2: Saturday at Globe Life Field (Texas)
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 30, at Chase Field (Arizona)
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Chase Field (Arizona)
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Chase Field (Arizona)*
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 3, at Globe Life Field (Texas)*
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 4, at Globe Life Field (Texas)*

*If necessary

How much does home field matter?

Not as much as you might think.

On one hand, teams with World Series home-field advantage in the Wild Card Era (since 1995) have gone on to win the championship 18 of 27 times (66.7%), excluding the 2020 World Series played at a neutral site. But when it comes down to a winner-take-all Game 7, that home field has not made a big difference. Teams playing in their home ballparks are 19-21 all-time in winner-take-all World Series contests and 62-65 in winner-take-all postseason games of any kind, including 0-2 in this year's LCS round.

In 2022, the World Series champion Astros had home-field advantage against the Phillies but only captured the title after losing Game 1 at home. A year earlier, the Braves overcame a lack of home field to beat the Astros in the Fall Classic, winning Game 1 and a decisive Game 6 in hostile territory. And in an unusual World Series in 2019, the Nationals beat the Astros after a seven-game battle in which the home team didn’t win a single contest. (The same thing just happened in the 2023 ALCS as well.)

The history of World Series home-field advantage

This current system -- going by overall win percentage -- was installed in 2017, and there have actually been four different sets of World Series home-field advantage rules in the 21st century alone.

The coronavirus pandemic brought about numerous changes to the 2020 MLB season, of course, extending all the way to the sport’s ultimate stage. The 116th World Series between the Dodgers and Rays was held at a neutral playing site -- brand-new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas -- for the first time in history as part of MLB’s efforts to minimize exposure to the coronavirus. It was also the first Fall Classic played at just one stadium since 1944, when the Browns and Cardinals squared off at their shared home of Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

That was, thankfully, a one-time-only phenomenon. Home-field-advantage rules returned in 2021 to the "best winning percentage" format.

From 2003-16, World Series home-field advantage was given to the team from the league that won that year’s All-Star Game, a rule that was installed after a 7-7 tie in the 2002 Midsummer Classic. And for the previous 98 editions of the World Series, home-field advantage simply alternated between the AL and NL depending on whether it was an odd or an even year.