The rule was disliked by many, but it was easy for Indians fans to shrug their shoulders when Chicago Cubs fans complained about the rule this year.
It was one of those things that wasn’t exactly logical, as it only existed to make the All-Star Game competitive. But the whole point of an All-Star Game is to showcase the league’s top talent in a fun atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with making it competitive, but it shouldn’t have any effect on the postseason, especially not the World Series.
The rule is no more, so it will be interesting to see if the MLB introduces a new incentive to the winners to make the game continue to mean something to the players. Perhaps a large winning bonus or a chance to get out of postgame press conferences for a month could incentivize the players.
And while it was clearly a flawed rule, it was hard to complain in 2016, at least in Cleveland. After failing to win outright home-field advantage in the American League, the Indians ended up with home-field advantage throughout the postseason thanks to some great play in the final week of the season, some help from Toronto, and that All-Star Game victory.
But if the Indians want to make a deep postseason run once again, the easiest path to ensuring home-field advantage once again will be to compete for the best record in the league.
That goal should be realistic if the entire roster can stay healthy in 2017. This is one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball and there should be no reason to expect a drop-off next year. In fact, improvements from Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin will only make the staff that much more dominant.