It’s only (mostly) an exhibition game, so the fact that the National League lost the All-Star Game, 4-2, on Tuesday isn’t that big of a deal. Although, for the San Francisco Giants, who are a leading contender to represent the NL in the World Series, the loss means that they concede home-field advantage to the American League team.
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This is because, as you probably are well aware, home-field advantage in the season’s most important series is attached to the outcome of the season’s most celebrated (but otherwise inconsequential) exhibition game. Since this became the way of the baseball world in 2003, the American League has won the All-Star Game—and thus home-field advantage—nine out of 13 times.
But, if the Giants make the World Series, that will be a secondary matter, considering that home-field only matters, really, if the series goes to seven games. (To some degree starting the series at home has its benefits.) It ranks in importance somewhere behind the Giants’ unparalleled experience in recent postseason history, Manager Bruce Bochy’s brilliance, and the overall strength of the team.
Besides the matter of home-field advantage, the All-Star Game was mildly entertaining. Between its six combined runs on 18 hits and three home runs, it felt like a normal baseball game.
For the Giants, however, the game was mostly a dud. Johnny Cueto started for the NL, which was a well-deserved honor, but he wasn’t on top of his game, giving up three runs on two home runs. Bumgarner didn’t pitch because he was fresh off tossing a one-hit shutout on Sunday. Neither Giants batter produced a hit, though Posey drew a walk and scored one of the NL’s only two runs.
From a Giants/National League West perspective, I found the best moment to come before the game even started, during player introductions. Padres fans booed mercilessly when the names of the three Dodgers — Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen — were announced, and then they did the same when each of the four Giants’ names were called. It was difficult to tell whether Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner garnered the loudest boos.
Interestingly, no vitriol was directed toward the other division opponents on the National League team, Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez. That could be a California thing, or maybe it was because the Giants and Dodgers are the division’s perennial contenders. Or maybe it’s a combination of them being the other two California teams constantly being in control of the division.
Regardless, I found the booing refreshing. Considering how uncompetitive the Padres have been lately (despite their attempt to contend in 2015), it’s nice to see that the San Diego fans haven’t lost their passion—even it’s expressed through jeering the division’s villains.
Now the Giants need to finish off yet another World Series and earn more of those boos for next season.