St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese, center, celebrates with teammates… (Eric Gay / Associated Press )
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether the St. Louis Cardinals would have won the World Series last year without home-field advantage, which was secured when the National League won the All-Star game.
Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
From the time the Cardinals confronted a 10 1/2-game wild-card race deficit in late August, all the planets aligned in their favor, including the necessary extra benefit of getting home-field advantage in the World Series.
Remember, St. Louis was down to its final out twice against Texas in both the ninth and 10th innings in Game 6 in St. Louis, and one of those dilemmas had them one strike away from elimination before David Freese, then Lance Berkman came through.
Those situations are nearly impossible to succeed in on the road, and having “the hammer” allowed the Cardinals and their hearty-voiced fans to walk off with a 10-9 victory in the 11th inning of Game 6 on Freese’s home run rather than go through the Rangers’ vaunted lineup once more.
Pitcher Chris Carpenter closed the rally at home in the 6-2 Game 7 finale.
Home field amplifies momentum, increases visitors’ anxiety, and the National League champion has that advantage again thanks to Tuesday's All-Star victory.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Given that neither the Rangers nor Cardinals play in Minnesota’s Metrodome, home-field advantage wasn’t that crucial in the 2011 World Series. The Cardinals didn’t win because they got to play the last two games at Busch Stadium, although lots of people in Texas think that (and the Rangers’ 1-5 record in road games the last two Series would seem to support that).
St. Louis got its World Series parade because Tony La Russa out-managed Ron Washington, and La Russa’s players were incredibly clutch. Would Nelson Cruz have caught David Freese’s ninth-inning drive in a Game 6 in Arlington? Maybe, but he would have caught it in St. Louis if his coaches had him playing deeper, as they should. That’s human error, not home-field advantage.
Keith Groller, Allentown Morning Call
From the moment the Cardinals qualified for the postseason on the final day of the season – thanks to a big assist from the Phillies – they seemed to be a charmed club on a magical ride.
Even though they won two of three games in both Philly and Milwaukee, the Cardinals had lost two of three in Arlington and you sensed that had the last two games been played in Texas, all of the David Freese magic of Game 6 never happens. More accustomed to the right-field wall in his own ballpark, Nelson Cruz likely hauls in the final out of Game 6.
There’s a psychological edge in knowing those final two games are in your home park, and by winning the All-Star game on Tuesday night, the National League World Series rep again has that mental edge come October.
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