Two home games to start out the series for the team with the lower record. Simply stated that is the worst rule change in recent history. Thank goodness for Russell the muscle because otherwise this rule could have really stuck it to the Yankees this season.
By allowing the team with the better record to have more home games in a playoff series, baseball has long acknowledged that there is a significant advantage to playing at your home stadium. While Selig’s rules for 2012 don’t effect the number of home games the better team gets, it has placed them at a distinct disadvantage, especially in a short series.
The wild card teams have been sufficiently punished by forcing them to win a one game playoff, obviously a significant obstacle to overcome. There was no reason, however, to punish the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues. By giving the team with the lesser record the first two games at home, the MLB has effectively made it so if this team does what it should it will be at a 2-0 lead with three games to play. This is obviously a difficult deficit to erase, even with the next three games at home.
Luckily, the Yankees have not suffered this fate in 2012. They managed to take the first game from the O’s in dramatic fashion. Had that not happened, however, the Yankees would be down 2-0 without playing a single game in the bronx yet. In fact, there’s no guarantee that they would ever make it to an equal amount of home games for each team. To me, the team with the better record should be guaranteed to have more home games. The old format, two home, two away, one home, was much better in that respect.
All things considered, I would rather the Yankees be 1-1 with three games at home than 1-1 with two games at Camden Yards coming up. I should probably count my blessings and move on, but in this case there is a legitimate gripe. This format will only be for 2012, but it’s a good thing.
Imagine the Red Sox or Phillies fan base if their team lost the first two away and never got to an equal amount of home games as their opponent despite having the better record. The excuses would be rampant, and Bud Selig would most likely receive countless death threats. Hell, as much as I love my fellow Yankees fans, the same might happen in New York. It would be a PR nightmare.
This nonsense will only last for one season, but if you ask me that’s one season too long. If something is only worth doing for one season, then why do it at all? There’s really no justifiable reason for it.
For Selig’s sake, it is lucky that this rule didn’t end up screwing anyone over this season. It’s also lucky for us Yankees fans. Can you imagine how long certain rival fan bases would be complaining and making excuses if this rule hurt them in 2012?