It is over now, and Ron Washington’s first order of business for 2012 is to do a better job managing.
In the All-Star Game.
I’ve said it before when it had nothing to do with the Rangers, and I’ll say it one final time (for 2011) while it’s still fresh in the minds of haunted Rangers fans. Deciding home-field advantage for the World Series based on which league wins the All-Star Game is the dumbest thing in professional sports.
The NBA and NHL determine home court or home ice based on the teams’ regular-season records. Clearly, this is the fairest way to go about it, and while some will tell me that Major League Baseball teams play uneven schedules, the answer is in the math.
The 162-game season has to be worth something. Through the years, things should even out enough that a team playing in the National League West won’t always have a softer schedule than a team playing in the American League East.
At least those wins are earned by the teams involved. As manager of the All-Star team, a “privilege” Washington has earned again for 2012, the Rangers’ manager has to juggle egos as much as he has to try to win the game. Then you’ve got all the starting pitchers who are restricted from playing by pitching on Sunday before the All-Star Game or choose to bail out on their own.
This is how we decide that Game 7 was to be held in St. Louis?
The Cardinals were the ninth home team to win Game 7 of the World Series. Home field doesn’t always mean a lot in baseball, but it’s on a heck of a roll in the biggest game of the season.
The rule regarding the All-Star winner was implemented in 2003, making this the first Game 7 since. The Rangers won 96 games to the Cardinals’ 90 this season. The Rangers won their division while the Cardinals were the wild-card team.
This isn’t about making excuses. This is about examining things that make no sense.
Even alternating World Series home-field advantage between leagues as was done for years would be a better system than the current one. If that were still in play, the Rangers wouldn’t have played Game 1 on the road in consecutive years.
If the Rangers weren’t undone by an ill-conceived rule, then, well, just blame it on the weather. If not for the rain that postponed Game 5 (even though it barely rained that night in St. Louis, conspiracy theorists), Chris Carpenter never could have started Game 7.
Stupid rule, lousy rain, what else is there?
Oh, yeah, the Cardinals.
They actually did a little more than simply take advantage of a rule that grew out of an All-Star Game tie and some foul weather. They played better baseball than the Rangers.
Albert Pujols’ damage was limited almost solely to Game 3, but the Cardinals won three other games without a single RBI from him. David Freese was the deserving MVP, but Lance Berkman or catcher Yadier Molina deserved to be in the discussion.
The Cardinals got their 11th championship before the Rangers got their first, and it’s not like they cheated or bent the rules to make it happen.
It’s just that a stupid rule caused Game 7 to be played under National League rules in a National League park.
Until that changes, the biggest game Washington will manage in 2012 could be a July exhibition game in Kansas City.