Reusse: Gripes about baseball are misguided jabs

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 10, 2014 - 1:15 AM

What’s wrong with the All-Star Game deciding home-field advantage for the World Series?

This is an NFL-loving country for many reasons, including the fact it’s not hard work to be a zealous follower of your favorite team.

NFL teams play 16 games in 17 weeks. They give you an excuse to drink heartily on weekends, with one bye in the middle to dry out and pay attention to the kids.

Who can’t handle that?

Baseball is different. It’s hard work to be a zealous baseball follower — games every day, 12:10, 1:10, 7:10, 9:10, 162 games in 26 weeks, nearly all over 3 hours … nobody can drink that much and maintain an original liver.

The NFL-loving public, and also the sports media that adore that easy-to-handle schedule, doesn’t ignore baseball completely. It does pause to complain about most any aspect of baseball, as a further validation of its wisdom in being fixated on the NFL.

This makes for a great double standard, such as:

• Steroids and PEDs are a horrendous scandal that brings into question every home run hit in major league baseball, and steroids and PEDs are simply something growing boys are going to do if they hope to make it as a 330-pound pulling guard in the NFL.

• Baseball gets more heat for having Alex Rodriguez than the NFL does for having had Aaron Hernandez in its midst. I read a suggestion the other day that ESPN and other media outlets should stop offering “so many’’ Hernandez stories.

Are you kidding me? The fact the New England Patriots were eagerly signing a five-year contract extension with a guy who could turn out to be the source of multiple murders might be the most astounding story of my sportswriting lifetime.

Still, the NFL worshippers fret over the dangedest things when it comes to baseball, and this is one we hear every July:

Using the All-Star Game to determine where a potential seventh game in the World Series will be played is illegitimate. The bashers get so worked up over this I get the impression they see it as diminishing baseball’s entire postseason.

Let me state that I continue to look at the one-game wild-card showdowns as an awful gimmick — an attempt to fix a wild-card situation that wasn’t broken — but it doesn’t sway my a belief that any championship that comes after a 162-game season will be well-earned.

What exactly is wrong with allowing a strong sampling of the best players from the two leagues to determine where a seventh game might be played?

That’s a big “might,’’ by the way. The All-Star Game started carrying this incentive in 2003, in the summer after Commissioner Bud Selig was forced to declare a tie in a “Midsummer Classic’’ played in his home ground of Milwaukee.

The team representing the league that won the All-Star Game is 8-3 in the World Series since then, but only one of those 11 Series has gone to a seventh game. That was in 2011, when Texas lost to St. Louis, and my guy Ron Washington, the Rangers manager, screwed up Game 6 so badly that the Texas loss hardly can be blamed on the American League having lost the All-Star Game.

For 98 World Series, from 1903 through 2002 (minus 1904 and 1994), the Series started in a National League city one year and in the American League the next.

It was logical in the sense that won-loss records obtained playing marathon schedules in leagues with varying degrees of overall strength were no more worthy of home field than taking turns.

Even today, with only 12 percent of a 162-game schedule played between the two leagues, there’s no reason to attach sanctity to an overall record when it comes to home field for the World Series.

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Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 55 3rd Qtr 9:03
Boston 69
Philadelphia 46 3rd Qtr
Indiana 59
Portland 64 3rd Qtr
Sacramento 50
Charlotte 43 3rd Qtr
Orlando 42
Oklahoma City 34 2nd Qtr 9:23
LA Lakers 23
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd 8:40
Florida 4
Columbus 2 3rd Prd 11:47
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 1st Prd 13:38
Washington 1
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 35 2nd Half
Wake Forest 37
Oregon 13 1st Half 11:25
Stanford 16
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 2nd Half 0:16
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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