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About the World Series
The first two games of the series are played in one team's
home ballpark, the next three in the other team's ballpark,
and the final two, if necessary, back in the first team's
ballpark. Until 2003, the team given the home-field advantage
was switched every year between the American League and the
National League. Starting in 2003, however, the league that
wins the All-Star Game is given the home field advantage in
the World Series.
A portion of the gate receipts from the World
Series - and, from 1969 onward, the other rounds of postseason
play preceding it - is used to fund a Players' Pool, from
which descending shares are distributed to the World Series
winner, the World Series loser, all the other teams qualifying
for the playoffs which did not reach the World Series, and
certain other teams which did not qualify for the playoffs,
the criteria for the latter changing at various times. Prior
to 1969, teams finishing in the first division, or top half
of the leagues' standings, received such shares; today only
the teams finishing in second place in their division but
not earning a wild card receive them, because there are
more divisions and each division is smaller.
The "World" appellation has stuck
despite the fact that only teams in the United States and
Canada participate. While some would contend that there
is no reason to believe that the World Series winner is
a significantly better team than any club team outside Major
League Baseball, no challenges have been made by other leagues.
Attempts to pit the North American champions against champions
in the Japanese or Latin American leagues have, so far,
A persistent myth is that the "World"
in "World Series" came about because the New York
World newspaper sponsored it. Baseball researcher Doug Pappas
refutes that claim, demonstrating a linear progression from
the phrase "World's Championship Series" (used
to describe the 1903 series) to "World's Series"
to "World Series". Furthermore, investigation
of the New York World for the relevant years revealed no
evidence of the supposed sponsorship.
Baseball tournaments between international
teams do occur, notably at the world championships and at
the Olympic Games. To the Summer Olympics, the US has always
sent a team of minor-league players, since the MLB hasn't
been willing to stop playing and thus free its players during
the Olympics until now. The US team won the gold medal in
2000, suggesting that a major-league team could defeat any
non-American national team. Of course, major league teams
do not consist entirely of US nationals; for example, about
10% of MLB players are from the Dominican Republic. Not
all of the US nationals in MLB are eligible for Team USA;
a significant minority are from Puerto Rico, which fields
its own teams in international sports competitions.
famed Cuban national team (which was beaten by the Americans
in 2000) has defeated Major League teams in some confrontations.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics the USA was not represented,
since its minor-leaguer team did not survive qualifying.
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has tried to
lobby MLB into suspending play during the Summer Olympics,
so that MLB players could compete for their respective national
teams. The IBAF is of the opininon that if this does not
happen at the 2008 Olympics, Baseball is likely to be removed
from the Olympics to make room for Rugby. The IBAF has agreed
to shortening the Olympic tournament if the MLB agrees to
freeing its players. According to the IBAF chairman, such
a move would do more for popularizing Baseball around the
world than any amount of money spent by the MLB for its
current worldwide marketing.
Currently, Major League Baseball, in cooperation
with the IBAF, is trying to institute a World Cup of Baseball,
to be held at least quadrennially during the Northern Hemisphere
winter at a warm-weather site, to serve as a true world
championship of national baseball teams. The winter scheduling
would allow players from the North American and Japanese
professional leagues to participate. The first such World
Cup is tentatively scheduled to follow the 2005 season.
The IBAF has already organized thirty-five editions of the
Baseball World Cup since 1938.
The term World Series has since been appropriated
by other championships, such as the World Series of Poker,
the College World Series, the World Series of Birding and
the World Series of Martial Arts. World Series Cricket was
a short-lived but influential cricket competition.