The Rangers landed seven players in the All-Star Game on Sunday and will likely have an eighth thanks to a large Yu Darvish voting block across the Pacific.
That's a reason to celebrate and, to Adrian Beltre, a reason to take matters into their own hands. The Rangers have been on the road to start the World Series in each of the last two seasons and Beltre wants to change that this time.
"Going in this year, we have a different perspective because we know how important it is to start at home and finish at home in the World Series. No doubt I believe, and some of the guys believe, that it was one of the keys to not winning last year. We had to play the last two games at their home. When you play at home, it's better. The fans are into it and you expect to win at home. I fully believe that if we played those two games at home, our chances would be a lot better.
Beltre's comments force us to rehash the ridiculousness of having the All-Star Game, an exhibition game, decide home-field advantage for the most significant series of the baseball season. It will be brief, though.
Interleague play gives us a way of determining on the field which of the two leagues is superior. It's not without flaws, but it is a lot more definitive than a game in which pitchers rarely pitch more than an inning and in which the best players on each team are out of the game long before it is over so that everyone on the roster gets a chance to play.
We've been down that road a million times and there's no reason to believe Bud Selig is finally going to connect the dots as to the fairest way to do things. Let's focus instead on the notion that home-field advantage was to blame for either of the Rangers' World Series losses.
It's a particularly hard argument to make about the loss to the Giants. The Rangers scored one run in their final three losses of the series, two of which were played in Arlington. Good pitching is going to win in just about any stadium under almost any circumstances and the 2010 Giants had lots of good pitching. Brian McCann's bases loaded double, therefore, really shouldn't be part of the equation.
Last year doesn't offer too much more evidence that playing Games One, Two, Six and Seven on the road were the deciding factor. Obviously you would like to be playing in your own ballpark, free from squirrels and other on-field intrusions, but Neftali Feliz has blown saves in Texas and Matt Harrison wasn't getting people out on a Little League field when the end of the season came around.
The Rangers won one of the first three games in St. Louis and had golden opportunities to win the other two. They also scored two runs in the first inning of Game Seven to put more pressure on the Cardinals. Maybe playing in front of home fans pushed the Cards to greater heights and post-1979 results give the idea of a home field advantage a boost, but that's not the way it looked on the field.
Beltre's words sound more like a rationalization for losing the Series than a serious explanation of the differences between being on home and on the road. Having a Game Seven at home would be great,