MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Owners give All-Star game winner boost


Published: Friday, January 17, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 17, 2003 at 1:20 a.m.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Baseball owners decided unanimously Thursday to give the All-Star game winner home-field advantage in the World Series. Now it's up to players whether to put the change in place.

``This energizes it. This gives them something to really play for,'' commissioner Bud Selig said after the 30-0 vote. ``People pay a lot of money to see that game. They deserve to see the same intensity they see all year long. Television people pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a meaningless exhibition game.''

Home field has rotated between the American and National leagues since the World Series began in 1903, and the team hosting Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 has won 15 of the last 17 titles and the last eight Series that went a full seven games.

Owners made the change following last year's mess in Milwaukee, when both teams ran out of pitchers and the All-Star game ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie. Management officials say Fox, which holds baseball's television rights, was strongly in favor of the proposal.

Some players have voiced opposition.

``That's crazy. You've got the All-Star game with players from different teams. I don't think that's right,'' said Chicago White Sox catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., a six-time All-Star. ``That's totally ludicrous.''

Alomar was MVP of the 1997 All-Star game at Cleveland, and was a member of the Indians team that lost Game 7 of that year's World Series at Florida - which would have been played at Jacobs Field under the new rule.

The union said it's not sure of its stance, but it appears management and Fox has work ahead to convince players to accept the change.

``We appreciate what they're trying to do,'' said Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official. ``We'll talk to the players and get a more widespread reaction than we've gotten so far. We'll also talk to the networks. It's not problem-free, but nothing in this sport is.''

Management can't understand any opposition.

``Their arguments are kind of hollow, whatever they are,'' Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo said.

Selig also will have his staff direct the All-Star managers to keep players in reserve in case the game goes extra innings.

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