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Will the All-Star Game count again?
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07/14/2004  1:52 AM ET
Will the All-Star Game count again?
Commissioner in favor of making format permanent
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
This time, it counts. Next time, it will, too, if commissioner Bud Selig has his way. (Ben Platt/MLB.com)
HOUSTON -- By dint of their 9-4 victory Tuesday night, the American League now will have home-field advantage in the World Series for the third consecutive season, the last two courtesy of winning the All-Star Game.

"This just means that the National League has to win one of these things," said Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer.

The question is whether they will have a chance. Tuesday night's game marked the end of a two-year agreement between MLB and the union to play the game under an experimental format in which the winning league earned home-field advantage in the upcoming World Series. Representatives for the players association, who agreed to MLB's concept last year, said the union will take it under advisement again in the offseason.

2004 All-Star Game

Commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday he's in favor of making the format permanent.

"This does mean something," Selig said. "Even a group of players talked to me after the Milwaukee game (a 7-7 tie that was called two years ago after 11 innings) and said they were in favor of the idea. (Former Cubs third baseman) Ron Santo called just to tell me he loved it."

Drayton McLane Jr., the Houston owner who was one of the 30 owners who voted unanimously for the format in January 2003, said he was in favor of playing with it again next year when the All-Star Game is in Detroit, and the year after that.

"Let's just keep it rolling," McLean said. "I love it. It's had a grand effect picking up interest in our game."

Even some of the players who are major forces in the union said after the game that they would give it some consideration.

"I guess I'm in the middle on it. I'm not totally for it and I'm not totally against it," said Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, a former National League representative, who worked an inning in Tuesday night's game. "I think there are other options that we need to sit down and talk about. I'm a big proponent of letting the regular season schedule decide (home-field advantage).

"I don't deny it one bit that it's added a little intrigue to the game. But I don't want to just be of the mindset that this is something we agreed to and we're going to do it forever."

Mark Loretta, the Padres second baseman, playing in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday night, said he could tell it made a difference even as the NL tried to claw back in the lopsided game.

"It's nice to have something riding on the game," said Loretta, who replaced Glavine as the league representative. "You could notice that there was incentive. Guys were giving it their all. In baseball, you really have to give your all. Pitchers aren't going to ease up, hitters aren't going to swing easier even if it's an exhibition game. When there's a little bit riding on the game, people seem to concentrate that much more."

Since the Yankees have been to the World Series six times in the last eight years, shortstop Derek Jeter said he's in favor of the format.

"If we keep getting to the World Series, I think it should continue. There are mixed opinions, because I know a lot of people think it should go to the team with the best record," said Jeter, who was 3-for-3, all singles in the game.

Said Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell: "I don't mind. I really don't. If the TV people like it, and MLB likes it because it helps out ratings, fine. Well, I did care (Tuesday night) because this one counts."

Excluding the tie game in Milwaukee, the AL has now won the past seven All-Star Games.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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