Commentary

The overstated value of home field

Playing at home in October is preferable, but the actual advantage is marginal

Updated: August 29, 2011, 12:01 PM ET
By Dayn Perry | ESPN Insider
Roy HalladayAP Photo/H. Rumph JrRoy Halladay will likely pitch Game 1 of the National League Division Series at home in Philadelphia.

The calendar on your wall -- the lovely one from your insurance agent that features scenes of American landmarks in seasonal splendor -- is about to flip to September.

To the baseball enthusiast, that means clarifying times for things like pennant races and individual awards of every flavor. Also in the balance? Home-field advantage.

Thanks to All-Star Game contrivances, we know that the National League representative will enjoy home-field advantage in the World Series (because the phrase "home-field advantage" is about to be mentioned more times than decency allows, it shall be known as "HFA" from this point forward), but since 1998 HFA through the Division and League Championship Series -- i.e., the first two playoff rounds -- has been tied to regular-season record and wild-card status.

And this raises a question: Does HFA in the postseason mean anything?