Anthony Castrovince

Home field in World Series a big advantage for AL

Home field in World Series a big advantage for AL

CINCINNATI -- There are factors that play a bigger role in the outcome of a World Series -- Madison Bumgarner comes to mind.

But home-field advantage is still a pretty significant deal. And thanks to the American League's 6-3 victory in the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park, the Junior Circuit will have home-field advantage in the Fall Classic for the third straight year and the 10th time in the 13 years that the Midsummer Classic has decided such matters.

"It's special," Royals reliever Wade Davis said. "Not too many people get to a Game 7, in general, let alone in front of your home crowd. Experiencing that atmosphere is special."

What does home field mean? Well, it depends on what kind of sample size you want to work with.

Since 1985, the team with the home-field advantage has won 23 of 29 World Series. So that looks pretty good for the AL, right? Of course, four of the six times in that sample where the team with home-field edge didn't win have occurred in the 12 years that have featured this All-Star rules wrinkle. So there's that.

The home field really gains importance should the Series go the distance. Nine of the last 10 times we've seen a Game 7, the home team won it.

As you no doubt remember, the one outlier on that list is a recent one. There's that Bumgarner factor creeping into things. Basically because of him, the Royals last year became the first home team to lose Game 7 of the World Series since the 1979 Orioles fell to the Pirates of "We Are Family" fame.

"Obviously it's not the end-all, be-all, Bumgarner said. "But it certainly does make it nicer."

The home-field factor has obviously had a dramatic impact on the way this midseason showcase unfolds.

You see that not just in the way the game is managed but also in the roster construction. AL skipper Ned Yost was careful to load up his bullpen with matchup weapons, creating a relief corps even deeper than the one he has at his disposal every night in Kansas City. And he deployed the guys who relieve games for a living expertly to protect the AL's late lead. Yost turned to the Orioles' Zach Britton with one out in the sixth and the AL leading 3-2, and that was where the AL began to tighten the screws.

"That's why we set up the game that way," Yost said. "We wanted to try to have five innings of good starting pitching. In the back end of the game -- the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth -- we wanted guys accustomed to coming in in those situations."

Yost got what he wanted, and so did the AL All-Stars. Now it remains to be seen which team benefits from a big night in the Queen City.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.