Too much riding on a showcase game

Updated: July 14, 2008

Tomasso DeRosa/US Presswire

Mariano Rivera has 223 career saves at Yankee Stadium, but will he get one in Tuesday's All-Star Game?

GAME SHOULD JUST BE AN EXHIBITION

I'm not a big fan of the All-Star Game determining home-field advantage for the World Series. The main idea of the All-Star Game is to celebrate and showcase the game and the stories, not impact who has home-field advantage in the biggest games of the year.

ESPN researcher Mark Simon notes that since 1985 the team with home-field advantage has won 18 of the past 22 World Series -- the exceptions are the 1992 and 1999 Braves, the 2003 Yankees, and the 2006 Tigers. Also, the past eight times the World Series has gone to a Game 7, the home team has won each time. (The last road team to win a Game 7 was the 1979 Pirates.)

Tuesday's game is a perfect example of that.

This year it's all about the final season of Yankee Stadium. It's fitting that Mariano Rivera -- whether it's in a win or a loss -- should be the last pitcher on the mound for the American League. That would be the right thing to do for the fans, Yankee Stadium and the history of the game. However, that may or may not happen, depending on the situation of the game.

This takes me back to the whole premise that this game is meant to showcase the sport and its stars. I look at one NBA All-Star Game as a perfect example of this. After Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive in 1991, he still took part in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds and was named the game's MVP. Memories like that make All-Star Games special.

So, if you want to doctor something, change the rules as they pertain to the All-Star Game, but don't let it determine something as important as home-field advantage in the World Series.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: July 13 | July 10 | July 9 | July 8 | July 7 | July 6


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BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
1 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Steve Phillips, Eric Young, Peter Gammons

BBTN MINUTE: HAMILTON IN HR DERBY

START IT UP

The starting pitching matchup in Tuesday's All-Star Game provides an advantage for the National League in terms of All-Star experience. Ben Sheets is participating in his fourth All-Star Game. Still, he might be a little nervous, since the first pitch he throws in this All-Star Game will be the first pitch he has ever thrown in Yankee Stadium.

The National League has one thing going in its favor: The past three times an Indians pitcher has started the All-Star Game, the NL has won. But Cliff Lee has been solid this season, replacing CC Sabathia as the Indians' ace.

LEE AND SHEETS, ALL-STAR STARTERS

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