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Home on the road
Home-field advantage not paying off
Posted: Tuesday October 17, 2000 2:13 AM
Updated: Tuesday October 17, 2000 2:25 AM
Orlando Hernandez and the Yanks lit up the A's in a Game 5 victory at Oakland. Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport
By Jacob Luft, CNNSI.com
The St. Louis Cardinals didn't enjoy their home-field advantage much in the NLCS.
Neither did the Braves, A's, or Giants in the Division Series.
Major league baseball rewards playoff teams with the best regular-season records by giving them home-field advantage in the playoffs. But this year that has been a very small advantage, if any at all.
Only one of the four teams with the home-field advantage made it out of the first round -- the Cardinals. St. Louis then played host to the wild-card Mets in Game 1 and 2, and dropped them both before winning Game 3 at New York.
Home teams have not held much of an advantage in the 2000 postseason.
Note: Stats are through Monday's NLCS Game 5.
Historically, since the start of division play in 1969, the hosts have enjoyed more victories than the visitors. In the World Series, the team slated to have four of the seven games at home has won 18 times and lost 12. The difference is not as pronounced in LCS play, where the hosts enjoy a 15-14 advantage (including the Mets' NLCS win this year).
Here are some other nuggets on the issue:
In deciding LCS and World Series games (Game 5 or Game 7, respectively), the home team has won 17 times compared to 9 for the away team. The only do-or-die game played this postseason went to the road team -- the Yankees at Oakland in Game 5 of the Division Series.
The Minnesota Twins took home-field advantage to another level in 1987 and 1991, winning eight consecutive World Series home games. They lost all six of their road games in those series, but came away with two championships by virtue of that home-field advantage in the Metrodome din.
In the 1984 NLCS, the Cubs won Games 1 and 2 in Wrigley before dropping three in a row -- and the pennant -- at San Diego. The California Angels pulled off the same tank job in the 1982 ALCS, winning the first two at home before getting swept at Milwaukee.
World Series home-field advantage alternates every season between the two leagues. This year the AL team will have four home games.
The slower-paced game of baseball is not known as a sport where venues make much of a difference. The other end of the spectrum is basketball, which is played more on emotion, giving the home teams more of an edge. The stats bare this out in the NBA Finals (see table, below).
|Home and Away|
Teams with the home-field advantage have fared better in best-of-seven postseason series since divisional play began in 1969 through 1999. Compare the baseball results to those of the NBA Finals during the same time span.
| Series won, home team
| Series won, road team
| Games won, home team
| Games won, road team
*LCS went to best-of-seven format beginning in 1985.|
Note: Stats do not include Division Series games in 1981, 1995-2000.
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