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ALL-STAR GAME DECISION IS PREPOSTEROUS.

Byline: BRIAN DOHN

Major League Baseball is finally catching up with the times, making knee-jerk reactions that confound sensibility rather than thinking things through and making a rational decision.

The move to award home-field advantage in the World Series to the team representing the victorious league in the All-Star Game is ludicrous, and an overreaction to last year's embarrassing tie.

Baseball and its television partner Fox, which has redefined the in- your-face quick-fix for a new generation, were worried the allure of the All-Star Game left about the same time last summer commissioner Bud Selig huddled with his inner circle and decided the game couldn't go any further and was declared a tie.

Selig believed a remedy was necessary, and so he decided to take a meaningless exhibition game whose sole purpose since its inception was to provide entertainment and give it meaning.

For some reason, the players association agreed to this nonsense, even though many players spoke out against it.

``The All-Star Game is for guys to have a good time, and it's usually what they consider for three days of rest and kick back a little bit,'' said Pittsburgh outfielder Kenny Lofton, who played in the World Series with the San Francisco Giants last fall.

``You don't want someone to go out there and hurt themselves trying to win an All-Star Game. It's just to go out and perform and have a good time. I don't think winning or losing the All-Star Game is a big deal.

``I look at it as a fun, relaxed time and no tension going into the game. It's pitchers just trying to go out there and getting loose with their arm and not trying to do anything major. It's hitters going out there just trying to swing. You go out and play the game, but it's not like you're going out there going all out and trying to make a diving catch and get injured. I don't think guys are going to play any different.''

Lofton's Giants didn't have the home-field advantage in losing to the Angels, but he said that wasn't why the Giants lost the sixth and seventh games at Edison Field.

Perhaps home-field advantage is no big deal, but no National League team is going to want to start a series in Minnesota's dingy Metrodome because some guy on the San Diego Padres booted a ball in the eighth inning of a July exhibition game.

Imagine - granted, this will take quite an effort in concentration - if the Chicago Cubs grabbed home-field advantage in a World Series because some nondeserving player from the pathetic Detroit Tigers played like it was the regular season and performed miserably.

``We'll try it out for a couple of years and see how it goes from there,'' Dodgers catcher and player rep Paul Lo Duca said. ``I think you have to wait and see.''

The home-field advantage used to be flip-flopped from league to league each year, which is antiquated and should be changed, but there is a much better way.

Scrap the idea of the All-Star Game winner and decide home-field advantage in the World Series by using interleague records. The league with the better mark wins it, and use run differential as a tie-breaker in case the leagues finish with a .500 mark.

The All-Star Game is about Reggie Jackson hitting a light tower, about Carl Hubbell striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession. It is about Torii Hunter robbing Barry Bonds of a homer, and Bonds showing he has some type of personality by running to the outfield to bear-hug Hunter and congratulate him on a heck of a catch.

The All-Star Game shouldn't be about home-field advantage in baseball's showcase in the fall, because the All-Star Game was never anything about substance.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 4, 2003
Words:639
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