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Should 97-win Cubs have home-field advantage against 90-win Mets?

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) reacts

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) reacts in the first inning during Game 2 of the NLCS against the New York Mets at Citi Field on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

The Cubs won 97 games in the regular season, including all seven against the Mets. The Mets won 90.

Still, the Mets have home-field advantage in the NLCS, which continued with Sunday night's Game 2 at Citi Field. If the series goes the distance, the Mets will host Game 7.

Why? Because the Mets finished first in a division -- the NL East -- while the Cubs were a wild-card team.

There is some sentiment in the game to change that. The idea is to reseed teams after the wild-card playoff game so the winner can have home-field advantage in either of the next two rounds if it has a better record than the division champion it is facing.

Commissioner Rob Manfred called it "an idea worth talking about" in an story Oct. 8.

"I think the reseeding idea, of all the suggestions that have been made, is the one that has the most appeal to me," Manfred said. "I'm not sure I would support it, but it is one that I would recognize the logic of . . . I think there is a fairness to the idea that you take a look at everything after the wild-card games and say, 'You ought to get a little something for the fact that your record might have been better than a division winner.' ''

Not only did the Cubs have a better record than the Mets, but Chicago played in a tougher division that includes the 100-win Cardinals and the 98-win Pirates, both of whom the Cubs have eliminated in this postseason.

"This year was kind of awkward," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday night. "We won 97, Pirates 98 and then the Cardinals, and of course you're going to get the clamoring for the readjustment at the conclusion of the year like that. For me, the home field really is necessary when it comes down to the fans more than anything . . . I used to think it was such a big deal, but I don't see it as being as big of a deal as I had in the past."

With interleague play making schedules unequal, it's worth noting that the Cubs achieved their higher win total (but "lesser" postseason berth) while playing a more difficult schedule than the Mets.

The Cubs' division opponents had a combined .537 winning percentage vs. .438 for the Mets' division opponents -- a difference of 46 victories.

Of course, there is absolutely no fairness when it comes to home-field advantage in the World Series. The AL team will host the first two and (if needed) the last two games beginning on Oct. 27. That would be the case even if an AL wild-card team reached this year's World Series.

That was decided when the AL won the All-Star Game -- an idea that still doesn't have widespread acceptance in baseball. But no one is talking about changing that because of the belief that it pumps up interest in the Midsummer Classic, even at the possible expense of fairness for the Fall Classic.

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