Detroit Tigers: Kirk Gibson’s Idea for Home-Field Advantage

Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Former Detroit Tiger Kirk Gibson throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Former Detroit Tiger Kirk Gibson throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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During the Detroit Tigers game against the Toronto Blue Jays, legendary Tiger Kirk Gibson presented his idea for establishing World Series home-field advantage without needing to use the All-Star Game.

Gibby made it clear that he did not like the idea of fans voting for the All-Star Game and the fact that the All-Star Game determines home-field advantage in the World Series.

So, he presented his own idea: the league with the best record in Inter-league play gets home-field advantage. Would this work? It could.

First of all, there are plenty of flaws with the fact that fans get to vote for the All-Star Game starters. This does not guarantee that the best players actually get into the game and Ian Kinsler‘s omission is proof. During the discussion with Gibson, Mario Impemba also shared that Carlos Correa, another outstanding middle infielder will also not be a part of the All-Star Game.

The problem with the All-Star Game isn’t the fan vote. The problem also isn’t that home-field advantage is given to the winning league. The problem is the two things combined. As long as the fan vote continues to be the major determining factor of the game, then home-field advantage should not be given to the winning team. There are just too many problems with combining the two.

Jul 5, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) motions toward the Cleveland Indians bench after being pushed back by a pitch during the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 5, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) motions toward the Cleveland Indians bench after being pushed back by a pitch during the first inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

One problem involves the fact that the fan vote is more of a popularity contest. I shared in an earlier post that Omar Infante was a top-five vote getter and he’s not even playing in the Major Leagues right now. There is no way that home field advantage should be given when fans can vote and do vote for players that they know nothing about – just because they are (or were) on their favorite team. The NL is at a disadvantage with their starting second baseman. The fans voted for Ben Zobrist to start, despite the fact that Daniel Murphy is leading the NL in both batting average (.345) and hits (110). Murphy is on the reserve list, like Miguel Cabrera; but, he should have received the fan votes – had the fans known better.

The World Series is a big deal, so to put it in the hands of the fans is troublesome. In reality, how many fans, especially those who are bandwagon fans really know much about their “favorite” team’s numbers. Do they know where to go for the information and do they really even care? When players like James McCann, Omar Infante, and Justin Upton are on the ballot, there are serious chances of undeserving players making their way onto the final roster, simply because people “like” them. 

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This mess makes Gibby’s idea intriguing. While discussing the idea, he mentioned how his idea might not work because teams need to make hotel reservations for the World Series. But, in reality, this should not an issue due to the fact that the World Series ballparks are not determined until the playoffs. Using the inter-league play stats could work rather well and they would make those games more meaningful during the season. Then, the All-Star Game could be the popularity contest without any major consequences for the leagues.

Next: Tigers Schedule After the Break

Gibson told Impemba that he would present more of his ideas for the All-Star Game and World Series home-field advantage in tomorrow’s game against Toronto. I, for one, will be listening to see what the All-Star has to say.