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10/24/08 12:51 PM ET

Home sweet home -- Factor or not?

With World Series knotted at 1, advantage yet to be seen

What home-field advantage?

With the 2008 World Series between the Rays and the Phillies tied at 1 and shifting to Philadelphia, the next three games are assured of being played in Citizens Bank Park.

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And by the end of this middle shift of the Fall Classic, National League teams will have hosted more World Series games than their American League counterparts since Series home-field edge became part of the spoils of All-Star Game victories in 2003.

How is that even possible -- given the fact the AL has continued to win Midsummer Classics, and also has an edge with victories in three of the last five World Series?

Well, part of the explanation is that very domination by the AL, which has an edge of 16-9 in World Series games since 2003. Each of the AL's triumphs -- by Boston in 2004 and '07 and the Chicago White Sox in '05 -- was by a sweep.

So on those occasions, the Series never had a chance to return to the opening city. And until the final two games, there is no home-field advantage -- except for the NL club, which always gets to host the middle three games.

However, there are many who argue that the main home-field advantage isn't in the number of potential home games, but in getting to host the first two.

Momentum in a short series is critical and, indeed, clubs hosting the first two games have won 11 of the last 14 World Series.

That bodes well for the Rays. But, in the war of omens, the Phillies can counter with the fact that the last two NL teams to win Game 1 in the AL park -- the 2003 Marlins in Yankee Stadium, and the '06 Cardinals in Comerica Park -- went on to capture the title.

The last two NL teams to win Game 1 in the AL park -- the 2003 Marlins in Yankee Stadium and the 2006 Cardinals in Comerica Park -- went on to capture the World Series.
at AL Park
at NL Park
Series Result
2003Yankees vs. Marlins1Marlins, 3-2
2Yankees, 6-1
3Yankees, 6-1
4Marlins, 4-3 (12)
5Marlins, 6-4
6Marlins, 2-0Marlins, 4-2
2004Red Sox vs. Cardinals1Red Sox, 11-9
2Red Sox, 6-2
3Red Sox, 4-1
4Red Sox, 3-0Red Sox, 4-0
2005White Sox vs. Astros1White Sox, 5-3
2White Sox, 7-6
3White Sox, 7-5 (14)
4White Sox, 1-0White Sox, 4-0
2006Tigers vs. Cardinals1Cards, 7-2
2Tigers, 3-1
3Cards, 5-0
4Cards, 5-4
5Cards, 4-2Cards, 4-1
2007Red Sox vs. Rockies1Red Sox, 13-1
2Red Sox, 2-1
3Red Sox, 10-5
4Red Sox, 4-3Red Sox, 4-0
2008Rays vs. Phillies1Phillies, 3-2
2Rays, 4-2
TOTALS25AL, 9-4AL, 7-5

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.