The league that wins baseball's All-Star Game no longer will get home-field advantage in the World Series, which instead will go to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record.
The change was included in Major League Baseball's tentative new collective bargaining agreement and disclosed early toay to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the deal, reached Wednesday evening in Irving, Texas, had not been announced.
In addition, players and management agreed the minimum stay on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.
Home-field advantage in the World Series generally rotated between the leagues through 2002. Baseball, led by then-Commissioner Bud Selig, and Fox television promoted the “This Time It Counts” innovation after the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie when both teams ran out of pitchers. Selig was booed in his own Milwaukee backyard.
“This energizes it. This gives them something to really play for,” Selig said after owners approved the change by a 30-0 vote in January 2003. “People pay a lot of money to see that game. They deserve to see the same intensity they see all year long. Television people pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a meaningless exhibition game.”
What began as a two-year experiment was extended. The American League won 11 of 14 All-Star Games played under the rule, and the AL representative won eight World Series in those years.
As part of the changes for next year, players in the All-Star Game will have the incentive to play for a pool of money.
The DL change will allow teams to make quicker decisions on whether to bring up a roster replacement rather than wait to see whether the injured player would be ready to return to action in less than two weeks.
Other key changes in the tentative agreement:
— Qualifying offers: Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven.
A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.
A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.
— Luxury tax: For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.
— International players: While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.
— Rosters: There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.
— Smokeless tobacco: It will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.
— Season length: The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.
— Minimum salary: It rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.