NEW YORK — Jackie Autry is mad as hell and she's not going to take it any more.
OK, that may be exaggerating the mood of the American League's honorary president on Monday, but not by much. After being reminded of the National League's recent run of success in the All-Star game by her National League counterpart Bill Giles, Autry did her fair share of trash talking during a Monday afternoon press conference at Citi Field.
In short: After three straight AL losses in the Midsummer Classic, Autry said matter of factly that she wants her league to return to the times when an All-Star win was all but guaranteed. The AL won every ASG between 1997 and 2009 with the exception of the infamous tie game in 2002.
"I think [Giles is] correct," Autry said "The [NL has] won three [straight] All‑Star Games and they have won three [straight] World Series.
"He forgets, though, that the American League owned the National League for 13 years in the All‑Star Game, and we are going to take over that ownership again with our manager of the American League, (Jim Leyland) ... He's an extraordinary manager, and I'm very proud to call him my friend and I know that he is going to stop the bleeding because this is not acceptable to the American League."
Yes, this time it really does count. At least to the 71-year-old widow of Gene Autry, the singing cowboy who owned the Angels from their inception in 1961 to 1997.
The short back and forth between Giles and Autry was nice to see, if only because it looks like we're on the brink of the NL win streak transitioning from random sample to burgeoning trend. The AL would like to put an end to that with a win on Tuesday night.
Does homefield advantage really matter in the playoffs? Studies have shown that it doesn't give a huge edge, but it hasn't hurt in the era of the "meaningful" All-Star game. This contest marks the 11th time that homefield advantage in the World Series has been awarded to the winning team and seven of the past 10 Fall Classic winners held the homefield advantage that a group of their league co-workers won for them in July.
The San Francisco Giants have benefitted the most from the NL's recent run of success. After the Senior Circuit won the All-Star game in 2010 and 2012, the Giants were able to win their first two World Series games at home before converting the 2-o series lead to a five-game win over the Texas Rangers and a sweep of the Detroit Tigers last fall.
"I think it did play a part in our success," San Francisco and NL manager Bruce Bochy said on Monday. "There's no place like home. We got off to a good start because of having home‑field advantage. There's just a sense of comfort for the players. Particularly when you're in the playoffs and you have the pressure of performing like these players do to start at home does give them, I think a bit more confidence and the ability to relax a little bit.
"So I do think that it plays a part."