All-Star Game format flawed, but AL victory might help White Sox
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org July 8, 2012 8:06PM
Paul Konerko doesn’t like that the league that wins the All-Star Game gets home-field advantage in the World Series. | Getty Images
Updated: August 10, 2012 6:28AM
Paul Konerko is no longer in the business of trying to make sense of the All-Star Game format. He let go of that idea years ago.
The concept that the winner of what is supposed to be a midseason exhibition game receives home-field advantage for the World Series in October is still a head-scratcher in the 30 clubhouses around the majors.
All you can do as a player is embrace it — or be really good at faking it. Either way, Konerko is looking at the All-Star Game as a business trip. That’s a lot easier to do for a player on a first-place team.
‘‘It’s not like it keeps me up at night, but I don’t agree with it,’’ Konerko said when asked Sunday about what’s at stake Tuesday. ‘‘I understand how it works with TV and all that; I understand the business of it. But there are just so many variables against the fact that it should matter. We can be here all day if we talked about all that.
‘‘I don’t even think the World Series format should have been like it was before, when [home-field advantage was] flipped from league to league. I always thought it should be best record, especially when there’s interleague involved, because it is an even truer test of like teams.’’
Adam Dunn, who will join Konerko on the American League team, was even more vocal about the issue.
‘‘I would think that you wouldn’t find a player that would say that they do like this format,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘It doesn’t make sense. If it is an All-Star Game and it is supposed to mean something, you obviously should take the best team. Obviously, a lot of times that doesn’t happen because you have to take one player from every team and blah, blah, blah. It’s definitely not good.
‘‘I know there’s definitely a lot more at stake for teams in the playoff run, but I’m going in there to have fun. I’m going in there to treat it like an All-Star Game, have fun. The most important thing is I’m going to get some rest and let things heal that need some healing.’’
OK, so Dunn isn’t a fan. But he might want to rethink that idea of going in ‘‘to have fun.’’ Ask the Texas Rangers if it was fun not having home-field advantage in back-to-back World Series appearances, especially when they lost Game 7 last season in St. Louis.
And while the Sox still have a lot of work to do before they can pencil in a World Series appearance, they are atop the American League Central and have a favorable schedule in the second half.
‘‘I think what I’ve noticed the last couple of All-Star Games is that there is definitely a little bit more focus during the game on the game,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘You look at what happened to Texas the last couple of years. One of those years, Texas would have opened up at home, and I think that would have made the difference.
‘‘Home-field [advantage] is big, and I still don’t agree with the All-Star Game deciding that. But the fact of the matter is, it does. You want to have it for yourself, and the next thing is to keep it for the American League. It’s that simple.
‘‘And who knows? It’s in the back of your mind that we could definitely benefit from this if it ever got that far. But, again, that’s far away.’’
Really? Because for the first time since 2005, the World Series suddenly doesn’t seem so far away.