Late in every baseball season, fans of contending teams dream of deep October runs and begin to wonder how the World Series home-field advantage might affect their hopes for a championship.
Would the hometown team have home-field advantage if they reached the Fall Classic?
And would it matter if they did? What has having the World Series home-field advantage meant historically?
And just how is that home-field advantage determined, anyway?
We can’t answer all of those questions, because, for example, you just never know how a team will perform under pressure. But we sure can dive into the facts for most of them … so let’s get to it!
How is World Series home-field advantage determined?
Beginning in 2017, home-field advantage in the World Series is awarded to the team with the better regular-season winning percentage.
How was World Series home-field advantage determined before 2017?
From 2003 through 2016, home-field advantage in the World Series was awarded to the team hailing from the league who won that summer’s All-Star Game.
Prior to 2003, home-field advantage alternated between the American League and National League participants in the World Series on a year-by-year basis.
What does home-field advantage in the World Series mean?
The World Series is a best-of-seven series, so the participants play each other anywhere from four to seven times to determine the champion.
Home-field advantage is enacted by scheduling four of the possible seven games at the advantaged team’s home stadium.
Does World Series home-field advantage matter?
Though a relatively small percentage of World Series reach seven games, home-field advantage is still important in the Fall Classic.
From 1969 (beginning of division play) through 2019, for example, home teams had won 59% of World Series games, about a 7% increase over their regular-season advantage!