Rozner: When will all-star farce be fixed?

In the dream, Ron Manfred steps to the podium and smiles.

The commissioner of baseball says that while he understands the reason why his predecessor decided to take an exhibition game and arbitrarily attach meaning to it, Manfred has concluded that homefield advantage in the World Series should be determined by the team having the best record during the 162-game regular season, during which each game counts in the standings.

He means no disrespect to Bud Selig. In fact, he waited two All-Star Games and watched carefully the selections and management of the game itself, while weighing the arguments for and against.

Manfred discusses with his top lieutenants and owners the ways in which they can make the All-Star Game more appealing, but no longer will they allow a glorified scrimmage decide which team gets Game 7 of the World Series in its own ballpark.

This is the dream. But as of now it is merely a dream.

Manfred has been nothing less than reasonable during his 18 months as commissioner, and he must know that the vast majority of baseball players and fans think this is perhaps the most absurd rule in all of professional sports.

It's the result of an exhibition game that ended in a tie in 2002, when the All-Star Game in Milwaukee was halted because the managers ran out of pitchers.

And no one was upset about it except a few fans in the ballpark - and Bud Selig.

Ironically, it's the nature of the game that caused the tie. Managers try to get every player in the game, much like every city is represented in the game even if the team doesn't have a player worthy of representation.

Yeah, everyone gets a ribbon and a trophy.

But you can't have it both ways. If the game really matters, then place the best players on the team and let them compete for nine innings.

In fact, it really should be the best teams, since they have their league's best records. Let them fight it out to determine home field.

Oh, wait. The regular season should decide that, just as it does in the NBA and NHL, where a practice game has nothing on the line for teams that have no control over the outcome.

Baseball says the call to make the game more significant is for the fans, though this is assuredly not true. Most fans do not care about an exhibition game. They hope their favorite player hits a home run, but whether he does or doesn't should have no impact on anyone or anything.

It's possible that the Cubs could reach the World Series this year with the best record in baseball and have home field capriciously stolen from them because a commissioner was embarrassed.

So how is this right for fans of a team that should have an extra game at home, perhaps robbed of the chance to see their team clinch a World Series in Game 6 or 7?

This genuinely affects fans in a very negative way, with the only positive what exactly?

This is baseball nonsense at its absolute worst, a bizarre choice from a man who was far too concerned with a few insulting comments made by those who tried to make a tie seem terrible when it was entirely irrelevant.

Whatever teams make the World Series will have long since had their homefield fate decided by players perhaps undeserving of being in the game or a manager who is merely trying to get TV time for a player who doesn't belong in a game that somehow matters.

There is no world in which this is logical, not with Selig having finally gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by a man who can't possibly think this is good for baseball and will eventually do the right thing.

At least we have the right to dream.

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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